My Father’s Left Hand

By David Bottoms b. 1949 David Bottoms
Sometimes my old man’s hand flutters over his knee, flaps
in crazy circles, and falls back to his leg.

Sometimes it leans for an hour on that bony ledge.

And sometimes when my old man tries to speak, his hand waggles
in the air, chasing a word, then perches again

on the bar of his walker or the arm of a chair.

Sometimes when evening closes down his window and rain
blackens into ice on the sill, it trembles like a sparrow in a storm.

Then full dark falls, and it trembles less, and less, until it’s still.

Poem copyright ©2008 by David Bottoms, whose most recent book of poems is Waltzing Through the Endtime, Copper Canyon Press, 2004. Poem reprinted from Alaska Quarterly Review Vol. 25, No. 3 & 4, Fall & Winter 2008, by permission of David Bottoms and the publisher.

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Poet David Bottoms b. 1949

POET’S REGION U.S., Southern

Subjects Living, Growing Old, Health & Illness, Relationships, Family & Ancestors

Poetic Terms Free Verse

 David  Bottoms

Biography

David Bottoms was born in Canton, Georgia in 1949. He earned an MA from the University of West Georgia and a PhD from Florida State University. In 1979, Bottoms won the prestigious Walt Whitman Award from the Academy of American Poets for his collection Shooting Rats at the Bibb County Dump. Robert Penn Warren, the contest’s judge, described Bottoms as “a strong poet, and much of his strength emerges from the fact that he is . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Living, Growing Old, Health & Illness, Relationships, Family & Ancestors

POET’S REGION U.S., Southern

Poetic Terms Free Verse

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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