Piety would have me say that when the stage lights dim
And I reach out my hand one final time,
I want it to be Jesus who grabs it,
Who hefts me up into heaven with a grunt,
Claps my shoulder and says,
“Well done, old boy, well done.”
But that’s a lie.
I want to be your hand
One more time.
My hands are big and clumsy - not strong, just oafish.
Your hands seemed so small, like flowers.
I was afraid I’d crush them.
Then you punched my shoulder.
I learned fast.
I’ve seen your hands knead dough, life laundry baskets, stop softballs,
Knit socks, thread needles, apply bandaids.
I’ve seen them tremble.
I’ve seen then hold steady.
I know those hands now.
The difference between an, “It’s gonna be all right,” squeeze,
“Is it going to be all right?”
And just, “I’m here.”
Paul (or was it John?) had it right -
I want to hold your hand.
At the end, at the beginning and all the parts in between.
I may only do it on occasion now
(There always seem to be a kid, a cat or something else in the way)
But if my hands ever seem restless.
It’s because they’re lonely without their partner.