My father’s hands have scars.
They have been there forever. Tendons dance with bulging veins as he builds. Pipe smoke flavors his presence. Grease marks his fingernails as my car is fixed. He rubs soap into dry, blackened, dirty hands, works it in, lather thick and gooey. Then water washes the filth away.
I want to build a chess table. My father’s hands know how. We build out of walnut. Its grain catches the light in molasses and honey ripples. I love those hands. They cut, form, sand, and shape. I watch, learn, explore, and create. We talk life and I listen to his gruff kindness, his too present cough. He calls my mothers name. His coffee grows a caramel blanket as it cools. The table is ready to finish. I caress our work. It is beautiful like the hands. I watch the hands apply the finish. Brush strokes glide. Velvet finish reflects his ice blue eyes. His grin holds the puffing pipe.
My wife and I are moving. The table falls off the pick-up. It is shattered. I take it to my father’s hands.
“We can fix it.”
Hands are what we build life with.
I look to my own hands. They have scars. They are few. I hope they will be many.