My Father's Hands

Shanna Hajek


He made certain I baited my own hook

and yet there he is in the picture,

crouching behind me

and holding my first catch by the mouth.


Once I searched through his dresser

looking for the war medals I had heard of

but he would never talk about.

Instead I found my baby teeth,

saved in a plastic bag.


In the summer I would wash the race car trailer

for five dollars, scraping the bugs off

with my fingernails because there was no toher way.

I could almost hear rusty hinges

when his wallet opened.


What I remember most

is purple winter mornings,

seeing him limp through the house.

When the pain was so bad,

my mother had to tie his shoes for him.