My Father’s Hands

I stare at old men's ears.
Extra large ones are best.
The kind that don't hear as well
from the war.

My father's hands hold my story.
He carried me in his arms until I was ten.
He taught me to spackle and paint.
He always loved my art.

When I was twenty-one his heart failed him
and I lost knowing him as an adult.
I touched his hands in his coffin
and he was cold, damp and clammy.

That means his heart was beating.
He woke up when we left for the cemetery.
I haven't seen him yet,
but he's always kind and close by.

My father's hands hold my story,
but he didn't teach my brothers
to find their gifts of working wood.

It's in our line to use our hands for beauty.
Mancil built log cabins.
So did his sons.

My father's hands hold my story.
Charlie's father is a doctor
but mine is a carpenter.

My hands hold my daughter's story.
I taught her Ruth's recipes.
My son has his grandfather's hands.
And he knows how to use them.

Let your hands hold your story.
Find your father's ears.
All the houses and the buildings
will hold you in their hearts.