Mano_Edgardo Antonio Jr

         Las Manos De Mis Padres

     Once, the backs
of Dad’s hands were smooth,
like a panther’s tail, like a jaguar’s coat.
     Years of work
turned the skin into leather
that shines like polished Florsheims.
     The hash marks
left by the bramble bush thorns
are perpetually scarlet.
     Mom’s hands
wring more often to mask
the liverspots developing below
     her knuckles.
Before, wringing was to moisturize
with Jergens: her pale hands
were two lost doves reuniting.
     Madre y Padre—
their hands—when they link—
which is not often—
fit like bone and socket.

About the author: John Olivares Espinoza most recent book is The Date Fruit Elegies (2008). His work has appeared in The American Poetry Review, New Letters, Spillway, Red Wheelbarrow, Quarterly West, ZYZZYVA, as well as a “list” in The Believer. He teaches in the English Department at Santa Clara University and lives in San Jose, California with his wife.

Artwork: Edgardo Antonio Jr.