The skin on his hands were pale and paper thin
showing a tangle of blue veins. Fingers longer and
thinner than I remember. I stopped and stared at
the age spots and bruised skin of purple and blue.
Those hands changed my diapers, helped me cross
the street, tied my shoes, turned pages of a book
and spanked me. I’m sure I deserved it. My little
hand fit so well inside your warm fingers.
Now with weak hands, you reach for help and comfort.
We will hold them to support you, hold them to
assure you, to raise you up. Our touch is compas-
sionate and real. You’re never alone.
Daddy, when did you get old? You didn’t warn me.
Signs of decay and weakness overlooked.
A gradual slowing down to a stop, to a chair and
to the bed. Resting your hands or pressing them
together for prayer.
My life started with you and will end without you.
Nature sometimes sings a sad song you can’t conceive.
Those hands have always been a gift. You lovingly used
them for giving, never for taking.