My Dad's Hands

Brown, strong, and clean

My dad's hands

Bring babies into the world,

Feeling in the dark for pain and growth:

Slap new life awake


Veined, rough, and chapped

My dad's hands

Pour scotch and sodas

Reaching for medication of old pains:

Hold new life away.


Quick, arrogant, and angry

My dad's hands

Grab and frighten me

Shaking me into fear:

New life withdraws.


Silent, firm, and soft

My dad's hands

Hold mine

Touching pain, inviting growth:

Respect for life between men.


Purple, cracked, and swollen

My dad's hands

Move slowly now

Trying to hold what can't be held:

Life, love, and loosing.


His hands support and protect

Sustaining life. In my

Father's hands l can risk

To grasp:

Nothing lost in loving life.

Bill Kelly



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