One of the benefits of my week at the Squaw Valley Poetry Workshop was coming home with several books of poems by poets I hadn’t read much (or any) of before. Today I’m printing a poem by a Berkeley poet, Christina Hutchins. Not only did I have a great time with her, I’m happy to print her deft, tender poem, from her book The Stranger Dissolves:
Washing My Father’s Hands
He situates them directly in the beam of falling
water under the kitchen spigot and waits.
I take up soap and one by one his right
then his left hand in both my own.
We rinse, splashing, and I turn off the faucet,
grasp two proffered wrists, both
at once in an embrace of my toweled hands,
and gently pull. I dry his hands
exactly as he once dried mine:
I press my thumbs into his relaxed
palms. Between us terry cloth
becomes the rough-soft world entire,
and from shadows and air, a cloth worn thin,
I gather one by one each yielding digit.