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I Remember Most of All Their Hands
Thomas D. Greer

Clifford's had the tattered feel of pages from a family Bible; smooth, yet crumpled, dry but warm. Perhaps the years of dealing poker cards, thumbing the edges until the gloss had turned to sheen, the sheen in time rubbed dull to match the parchment texture of his palms... or fiercely gripping pool cues, twisting the wood against the calluses, around and around as he paced the table's length; perhaps these things in time had worn those lines as deep and long as life in Clifford's hands.

scratch shot off the eight-ball-- the air turns blue

But Thomas, my mother's father, his hands always felt like talc. And cool, always cool. The fingers were finely tuned to minutiae: the tiny wood-tick burrowed into the hound's thick pelt, the intricate inscribing on the surface of the silver spoons and forks he used to craft trinkets for his daughters, simple rings and bangles. His hands had the feel of the final years, the tissue-like translucence of growing old.

walking cane he trained from a sapling velvet smooth

No final robust wave from the neat front-lawn for him (Clifford's hand, waving to Dorothy; sweat, and grease from the lawnmower, and then the sudden grip of heart-attack) no-- he'd leave no coarse and ragged edges behind, but rather a soft erosion, a gentle walk across a carpet grown imperceptibly threadbare, frayed and frail until you saw the boards, splintered, underneath.

patty-cake man my son's soft palm softens mine

Thomas D. Greer's website is: The Brown Fedora