No one ever knew what he did with his hands
when he wasn’t bent double,
pounding nails into the roof of the church,
fixing the furnace, the air conditioner.
He worked the sound board on Sundays,
trusted fingers pushing buttons up and down.
I watched, trapped in his prison of lap,
my pulse flapping like fast wings.
At home, the smell of fried chicken steaming
through holes in a fast food bucket
signaled his once a week visit.
Mother, so troubled herself, never thought twice
about our afternoon naps.
I keep his hands locked in a closet of past,
knuckles like knobs, skin on the palms winter-stiff,
scraping the curb of my emerging breast,
trampling a print through the opening
Y of my thighs, my eyelids squeezed tight
as if slamming on brakes, as if I would hear
the screech of a train stopping.