I was in the air, frustrated
that fog had delayed us. Now,
I would miss my flight to Dallas
where I was on my way to speak
about obstacles as teachers.
I was feeling pissed off
when I noticed my left hand
on the seat—it was my father’s
hand—the large knuckles, the
pronounced veins, the bark-like
wrinkles at the base of my thumb.
It was his hand as I had seen it
countless times: guiding a piece of
wood through a band saw or tapping
on an open book as he would
try to understand.
I opened and closed it like
someone waking from a long sleep.
It is the hand I write with. And it
is weathered, an immigrant hand,
rough from crossing many seas.
Had it not been for the fog and the
I touched it with my other hand;
trying to know my father,
trying to feel the oar,
trying to remember the sea.
Excerpted from Reduced to Joy by Mark Nepo, published by Viva Editions 2013