A Father’s Hands

by Scott Ransopher

Men would bet upon her father’s hands.
Could he pick up in just one fist
A dozen eggs scattered on the table–
One by one–cracking none?
He’d reach his hand (stretched at five by
Pulsing milk from freshened cows)
And settle shells beneath knuckle’s crease.
Then pressing oh so slightly he’d lift
A dozen unflawed shells high
Above his head and grin.
He’d bring his white bouquet to her–
At two and six and eight and ten
She’d pluck the twelve white blossoms
Set them in a bowl and sit within his hands.
But at thirteen she wouldn’t take his flowers.
When he put the white shells down and
Asked her for her empty hand in his
She ran. Who can take a father’s hand
And hold it at thirteen? At forty though she can.