My Father’s Left Hand

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.