My grandfather’s hands


For Tara

My hands are somehow rougher
than I expected them to be when I
was young and
scared of my grandfather’s
calloused fingers. I did not foresee mine
splashed with scars I cannot trace that
race from pointer
to the thumb; and flecked
with paint stains
that grow, only
grow, over
the perpetual layer of
long days my fingers trace
through yours. Your hands
play songs through mine when
my joints ache too hard
to percussion themselves off
your linen shoulder. Your hands
smooth my scars out. Iron them
back into accidents, and then
away completely.
You wash the long days off me.
You turn my trembling cacophony
percussion fingers into
piano keys.
You take my paint stains
and give them shape
and stories; I can’t name them
“stain” anymore
when you kiss them.
You have made an art form
out of sculpting
my reddened knuckles
my calloused palms into
the same hands my
grandfather once used
to build his wife a home.
You’ve sculpted a man
out of these hands with
your own.

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