Taking the Measure

A span is the width of a hand outspread,

a cubit runs elbow to middle finger tip.

An inch is knuckle to end of thumb,

and the height of a horse is hand

upon hand upon hand.


The first rulers were our parts and we

took the measure of things with what

was on hand, which was a hand,

or the limbs attached thereto.

The lines that march along the length

of a yardstick are precise while

the reach of fabric held nose to

outstretched arm is a yard of trust

that the one who measures

measures true, and the flesh of

any nose and the bone of any arm

is close enough.


Beside you towering over me I feel

less than though my foot is a foot

despite my knuckle telling otherwise.

Notwithstanding the evidence of

discrepancies in size I must trust that

we are equal, my brain no less nor

more than yours, each heart moving

the volume of blood we contain

so the depth and breadth of us paired

doesn’t tip, unbalanced, like a scale

when the finger lingers to raise

or lower the price.


© Dana Hughes 3.30.18


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