Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Papa's Hands

hands like hard-ridden saddles
weather worn and tanned
a red near cordovan 
nearer to the sunset-lit red cliffs
ancient river rocks now standing alone
where he grew up where he was a boy
old old Mexican man selling ropes
and telling stories of getting robbed
by Billy the Kid

hands like massive slabs

dense muscle scarred and scabbed 
too big for most things
but nimble and agile 
in ways that seemed impossible

hands like sandpaper 

infused with tiny shards of coral
but warm and kind to a tiny 
person animal 
metal part fragile paper

careful tools to be used 

in a thousand varied ways
in the oil-scented garage workshop 
spotlessly clean yet cluttered 
parts and manuals bulbs and screwdrivers 
needlenose pliers magnifying glasses

hands that had already handled 

things too big for just one man
under the unrelenting 
New Mexico sky 
alone with the dogs 
and the fear-filled eyes 
of several hundred 
head of cattle

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