Father's Day Manicures

Here is poem in two parts that I wrote based on my dad's recent visit to our home.  He is such an amazing grandfather and continues to challenge, love and encourage me.  I love the strength of my father's hands and that he always taught me, "The pen is swifter than the sword." I am so very thankful.

After sawing logs on the couch,
your Daddy wakes and says he’ll bake
 a sweet potato pie.

You look at his thick rhinoceros horn nails,
and say, “Daddy, please wait.”
Then you start to clip those jagged saws
and say, “How could you let them go
for so long?”

You gather the clippings
 in your skirt and your son tells you
 that you are acting
 like his mom. But your dad
is no longer acting
like your son who would have
 balled his sharp nails into a fist
 if you tried.

Daddy says, “I can’t
remember anyone ever
clipping my nails.”


He considers the small
 bottle of purple  metallic polish
 and says, “Yes, I will
 paint your nails,
but I have never painted
a person’s nails before.”

She says that’s okay
and spreads the sum of her years
 on a flattened macaroni box
 to protect the table where you sat
 as a child and now stand at a distance

 to watch your father bent over
 and concentrating with bifocals off.
 The top of his head gleams,
the bald spot that was a golden coin
 has grown into a mirror.

 And this little curly haired girl,
 your daughter, is you
though he never said, “yes”
when you asked.    

you want to bottle this moment
 to take a picture of those thick 
tree trunk fingers holding her red bud twigs.
She sighs her patient I’m a big girl sigh
as he takes his time and colors outside the lines.



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