We are our own fingerprints.

We're the evidence we leave behind on everything we touch


Partially chewed pens and crumpled paper

Whole handprints on foreheads for those rough days.

We are everywhere even if we don't see it.

Have more affect on others than we'd like to think.

I think of the imprints I have left that are not on me.

On computer screens and keyboards,

Along with countless airplane trays and those little knobs to let them down.

Confusing swirls beneath my nieces' feet just to make them laugh

And on every button of my cell phone

Because between texting and calling

My prints don't discriminate.

Though if there was a way to show it

Numbers 4, 6, and 3 would always have more layers,

Only because they spell home.

I know I must carry more.

My lines overlap with prints that are not my own.

Baby grips wrapped around my index fingers tell me I've helped some walk.

Look beneath those and you'll know I've been helped too.

Even whole handprints from my grandmother lie on each cheek

From her examinations to see how much I've changed.

Those moments are long gone,

But if you looked hard, the evidence would still be there.

Our fingerprints can be as heavy or as light as we make them.

Can wash away or stay hidden on what we've touched.

Each trail is unique to the person who created it

And each mark's position builds bonds between the person who left it

And the place where it now rests.

In India, fingerprints were first used on contracts

Because it was believed that prints and personal contact instead of mere signatures

Made contracts more binding.

I wonder if we'd be more cautious about where and how we left ours

If we saw our evidence as binding.

Would we press harder

And more frequently

With greater purpose

If we looked at them like hidden, unspoken pacts?


When all is said and done

I'd like to picture detectives coming in,

Many years after I'm gone

With gloves on hands,

Taping off all those scenes

That when pieced together we called lives

And marking everything with caution.

Like any investigation,

They'll collect all the evidence as good detectives do

And I imagine that their search will have no boundaries.

They'll search past houses and dorm rooms

Cars, subways, and any other place imaginable

Until they've run out of tape lifts to collect their prints

And when they're done collecting,

There will be no mistaking their findings.

Those prints will always lead back to the person that left them,


Yes, we are our own fingerprints indeed.

What will they find along the way when they power dust your trail?

Partial, half crescent moons,

Or full hands stamped on walls?