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#1default My uncle hands on Sat Mar 03, 2012 5:07 am


My uncle's hands

My uncle talked to wood with his bare hands.

His rough and calloused fingertips
coaxed the grain to say its name:
bird's eye maple, southern yellow pine.
He savored the purchase of fine woods
the way a richer man buys a piece of art:
for his collection. To have. To touch.

I don't think they'd like
this wood they've got him in now.
The grain isn't matched quite properly
there, on the end.

Pinned by the undertaker's eager smile
and brilliant chatter, I touch the box.

"It was hard to get his coloring right.
He was so fair. You look like him.
Are you his daughter? "

No. He never married.
But you did a good job.

"And he was such a large man,
although I understand
he's been sick recently?
It was hard to find something
of the right size for him."

Yes, he was a big man.

When his father died, I helped my uncle
lay out the clothes. We smoothed wrinkles
from a worn black suit, a white shirt.
He was stumped on which tie to take
and finally held up something grey, knitted.

"It's funny how small this looks now.
I used to borrow it to wear to school."

Then it's the right one.

I want to touch my uncle's hands.
I'm afraid of how cold he is.
So I touch instead, black suit, white shirt,
another knitted tie.
Good bye.

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