When I was six,
my parents took me to our family doctor
to talk about the way I was still sucking on my thumb.
He told me that if I didn’t stop,
that moment,
he would chop my thumbs off.
So I learned to tuck them into my palms
and hold them like a secret.
Every night, I would place my thumbless fist
against my silent mouth to fall asleep.

Later, my brother,
the one who had a hobby of beating bruises into me,
told me that if I were to ever fight
I would need to have my thumbs out.
If I kept them tucked in,
they would get broken in the first punch.

Now, I think about my thumbs.
They are this part of me
that speaks of violence and not of comfort.
They are part of me and yet not.

Now, I look down at my thumbs
and think about how they are the reason
I can hold on to things.
They hold on to the fear and secrets
the violence and loss.
I wonder if I will ever be able to open my hand,
palm to the sky,
and let go of all I am holding.

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