My Father’s Hands
Upon his death I caught my father’s hands
and sealed them in two boxes. One contains
the rattle of his tools: the stilsons, molegrips,
worms and tamps, a hammer and a trowel.
His rusted trowel evokes for me
the buttery mortar separating, chopped,
grainy yet slippery, infinitely cold –
and desperate to become invulnerable.
The other box contains his book, the record
of his earnest honesty. To Grace
– three tins of white emulsion paint. A soil pipe
trenched and laid. A ballcock. Twenty seven pounds.
These are his only monuments.
Each entry writ in firm blue cursive loops –
like stunt planes, kite tails, swallows on a pond –
and underlined upon completion.
Copyright © John Bolland 2016
John Bolland is a writer and artist based in the North-East of Scotland. His writing has been published in The London Magazine, The Fish Anthology, Pushing Out the Boat, Lallans, Northwords Now, The Poets Republic, Poetry Scotland, From Glasgow to Saturn and Open Mouse. Further details of his work can be found on www.aviewfromthelonggrass.com .