Shall I tell them?

You have a scar on the inside of your arm, thick and white, high enough so they won't see. It carries over through the regenerations.

Shall I tell them how on the inside of your palm is the smallest freckle, right on the heel of your hand? Your mother called it your hope spot; she had one exactly like it. It carries over, too.

Shall I tell them that your hands have tried to hold together the parents, their blood slipping through the cracks in your fingers? How after a while you had to leave them to try and save their daughter, how after a while she died too? You tell people you're not that kind of doctor, now, but that used to be a lie.

You've spilled flowers from your hands, to place them in her hair, amongst the red sky and the silver leaves of the foreign nature of trees. All the trees are green now, the sky is blue.

She'd smiled, blushed prettily, took the flowers you offered her, placed them in her hair. The flowers smelled of time, a scent you can't find anywhere anymore.

All ash.

You've cradled a baby girl, cupping her fragile skin in the rough-worn palms of your hands, as she mewled her first cry into the world, as you said back "She's the most beautiful thing I've ever seen." Baby girl, baby girl: the one who loved humanity, who loved arch-ae-ology. The echoes forward in his life make him want to laugh laugh cry—

The metal smooth under your hands, dust on the inside escaping on sunbeams through the open door, disturbed by the echo of your boots and the tap of your cane. Koschei, behind you, saying something, and little granddaughter, coming up beside you to take you by the hand; she says, "Grandfather?" in a half lilting question, and you pick her up to murmur stories, as the metal from the console is smooth under your hands.

Who knew a museum piece could be so beautiful?

Blue box, holding her hand. Talking, with mouths. Run, and grabbing her hand in yours, and it's so small, like a bird. Pink and yellow, fragile as a bird.

Shall I tell them how your hands have wrapped a bow tie around them, how you told her promises, promises on top of a pyramid. How, later, your hands cradled the corners of her jaw gently, and eased into the sparking fire-tangles of her hair? Shall I tell them of a river?

Shall I tell them of the gun, metal cold in your hands, and how you jammed it into a man's forehead to say I never would and throw the gun away, please. Shall I tell them

tell them

tell them about your hands?

Or shall you?