Friday, October 21, 2016

My Daddy's Hands

I can still feel my father's hands cupping my face even though it has been almost four years since those hands stilled. One finger shortened to the first knuckle by the wood pulled crooked into a saw blade. A faint smell of machine oil or car lubricant. The stains of axel grease that remained years after he retired from his work on diesel buses. They were big hands. They held the expansive gift of his love. It's not his birthday or his death day or anything else special. Just an ordinary Friday with my daddy on my mind. 

The Gift
by Li-Young Lee

To pull the metal splinter from my palm
my father recited a story in a low voice.
I watched his lovely face and not the blade.
Before the story ended, he’d removed
the iron sliver I thought I’d die from.

I can’t remember the tale,
but hear his voice still, a well
of dark water, a prayer.
And I recall his hands,
two measures of tenderness
he laid against my face,

Read the rest here.

Visit Miss Rumphius Effect for today's roundup.


  1. Your piece pairs so well with "The Gift," Doraine. Thank you for sharing both.

  2. How beautiful - your own description of your father's hand, and LiYoung Lee's moving words. What a beautiful celebration of the gentle love of a beloved parent.

  3. What a beautiful post - poem and story are perfectly paired, Dori.

  4. There is something so moving about a gentle man, like your father and the father in Li-Young's poem. These lines are gorgeous:

    "And I recall his hands,
    two measures of tenderness
    he laid against my face,

  5. Aw, Dori. "They held the expansive gift of his love." <3
    Li-Young Lee is wonderful.

  6. "They held the expansive gift of their love."

    Beautiful sentiment and perfect poem. Am now thinking of my father who worked with his hands as a carpenter, the times he removed a splinter from my small hands and cut my fingernails. :)

  7. I have random days when daddy is on my mind, too, Dori. (He died 29 years ago.) Li-Young Lee's poem is new to me, but will be treasured. Thank you. =)

  8. planting something in a boy’s palm,
    a silver tear, a tiny flame.

    I like these lines, and, your visceral memory of the smells of a mechanic.

  9. So beautiful...the poem and the tribute it is to your father. It reminds me of Kate DiCamillo's Newberry speech in which she found a use for the word capacious that she had been carrying around with her for years.
    Have a good, good week Doraine.

  10. A lovely poem! I've missed my dad this weekend too -- maybe the impending arrival of our grandchildren has contributed. Congrats to you!

  11. So wonderful to hear stories of men being nurturers. They can be tender and nurturing.