I remember when I was little, and I would hold my father’s hand,
I always marveled at how large his hands were, how powerful his grip.
He would sometimes lift me up by the one hand he held in his,
Grip tight but not hurt me. Strength and gentleness.
And I remember looking at my smooth white hand in his,
It seemed amazing to me that my hand could ever grow as large,
As covered with hair, crisscrossed with tiny lines and wrinkles.
Covered with the scars of hard work and worry.
I remember being a bit older, and helping my father renovate the house,
Or change the brakes on his car, or build a fence in the back yard.
My hands were almost as large as his, but his were still more powerful,
more wrinkled and scarred than ever, but more clever, smarter too.
We would work together, and I’d watch his clever smart wrinkled hands,
Watch as this grace and power combined to get things done.
I’d see him impose his will on a bit of wire he was cutting, or watch
As he gripped a hammer and willed nails through wood.
And then one day I had a child of my own and I held that boys hand in mine,
Compared his perfect tapered tiny little fingers to my own.
I wondered if he would look at my hands and see what I had seen,
If he’d wonder at my powerful clever hands as they willed music out of strings.
And some day I know I will hold my father’s hand again,
Except I won’t be so little, and his hand won’t be so large or powerful.
And I’ll look at his shaking white hand in mine, see the scars,
Scars of work and worry, and our roles will be reversed.
And I’ll lift him up, as gently as he lifted me as a little boy, as I lifted my little boy,
I’ll lift him up and we’ll walk again, this time all three of us.
And I’ll hold each of their small white hands in my powerful, scarred grip,
But there’ll be no worry or work, just the hands of two fathers and two sons.