My Father's Hands

Gabriel Hahn

a photo above my door
or plain sight cannot make me know
the day's labors

dry cracked calloused
phalanges unable to fully extend
not out of disregard

wrought, making pipes fit
wires bend
engines run
or children behave;
but with children
wanting to be silk
become thoughtful, gentle abrasives

sturdy as gymnast's feet
skilled as the painter’s eye
guided by vision and wisdom
still succumb to necessity
after fifty years' labor

the present toils show rips and splits
any cells weak, long ago sloughed
left with chafed, brazed, palms and backs

the leather pouch
full of screwdrivers and Kleins and voltmeters
is scuffed by his hands