Hands and Feet

Large hands my father had,
nails bruised
purple and clipped jagged
from a buffing machine
disguised in his shop
as a sleeping child,
until he stood up to the thing
and pressed down on an iron pedal,
caused the breath of the beast
to fly in bright sparks
and whine inconsolably
as he sanded arches
into a slalom course for feet,
sacrificial shreds of cow hide
drifted beneath the machine
swept into a pile for city workers
to rescue in the morning.

His hand always encircled my hand
when we traveled on the subway
to Orchard Beach,
waited for the bus
to drop us off at the bath house
where the floor was cold and gritty
without shoes
looked for an occasional penny
to turn up on a stretch of sand,
back and forth
he schooled me in how the foot
was a delicate instrument,
composed of more bones
than any other part of the body
(28 if you included those at the base
of the big toe, and even if you didn’t,
26 was still a lot). But what else
could I expect
being able to walk on two feet,
being able to look at the sky?

About Lenore Weiss

Lenore's collections include "Tap Dancing on the Silverado Trail" (2011) from Finishing Line Press, “Sh’ma Yis’rael” (2007) from Pudding House Publications, and "Cutting Down the Last Tree on Easter Island" (West End Press, 2012). Her writing has won recognition from Poets&Writers (finalist in California Voices contest) and as a finalist for Pablo Neruda Prize, Nimrod International Journal. The Society for Technical Communication has recognized her work regarding Technical Literacy in the schools. All material is copyrighted on this site and cannot be used without the author's permission.
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