these are old hands

he looks down and sees wrinkles.

these are old hands, my father says

blue veins tracing rivers

over the backs of his hands.

that I know better even than mine.

but I don’t see old -

I’ve seen

the terror of death in paper charts,

in the hospital hallways where I am told to

just wait. my father looks down at most things –

literally. (he’s six feet going on eight feet) I have grown up

squaring my shoulders,

ready to prove my worth with my voice. my father is older but

not aged. he knows that between the grave pauses

of the doctors, before they say their diagnoses,

before the results are revealed in the papers,

there are moments. looking down at hands.

hands enclosed in hands.

taking the time of the pauses

melding them into hours

and fresh experience and saying

what you see. that’s the

only way to embrace bad news. that’s what I see

when I see my father’s hands.

--

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Alana Schwartz

Alana Schwartz

English teacher by trade, story writer for fun