Father Fear

September 1, 2002

When she asks me to massage the ache in her knuckles,

When she asks me to massage
the ache in her knuckles,

I recall women I have touched
whose hands twisted

like apricot limbs
in their search for light.

I've never asked how
they hold a fork, play piano,

or stroke a lover's hair,
and when I rub my daughter's bones

with the soft pads of my fingertips
it is like wishing on a magic lamp:

Please, not Lupus,
not steroids or morphine or wheelchairs.

I've seen apricots in my orchard
blossom too soon,

so fragrant in early April
killed by hard frost in May.