My father’s hands were calloused
And rough, worn down from years of labor.
Those hands – the tough hands I brushed
As a child – they were an immigrant’s honor.
They fought for us, always, when my mother
Knew no English; shielded us from
The horrors all around; guided us to another
Path, one he never had, with a brighter outcome.
Study, and you’ll find a job that won’t leave
You aching; study so his struggle can be worth it
One day; study so he’ll stay quiet. Please,
Please stay quiet just this once… He would sit,
Seeing nothing but the vibrant screen – reverie
Broken at the sight of my mother. Why hadn’t she done
His laundry yet? Where was remote for the TV?
She told me stories from when they first met; love
Had been sweet and jubilant then. He showed his
True colors decades later, when she was alone
In a new country, with no one else to turn to. This
Was love – beautiful, toxic, volatile – and it shook me to the bone.