Family Hands

My father’s hand
had a shorter finger
cut by grain auger;
his father, one,
from infection.
My hands are scarred,
from work I’ve done,
for myself,
for my mother
as a child and later.
Her hands hit me,
stifled my mouth,
my self,
and shut me down.
Then one day,
decades later,
that hand reached
toward me.
I didn’t know why,
but watched.
Instead of hitting,
it held mine;
a startling experience,
then again a second day.
This was new to my
sixty-five years.
Then my mother died.