Flecks

My father’s hands
sun burnt to crisp blood brightening wrinkled grooves
curve round rough calluses
converge into dirt covered fingernail beds
sprinkle flecks of Earth onto its origins
as he turns the door knob and enters inside.

My father reaches to lift me from my armpits into the air
strategically spins my body
more thrilling than any existent or imagined amusement park ride.
Quien es mi superman? El mas fuerte?
I do not know this yet – not yet.

Father’s hands pull and weed and grind into the Earth
back arched rapidamente
mouth parched, skin stinging
sun sets, upset.

Father arranges his bushel
no es sufficiente 
hands thin in pocket, tread home
loose change for 14 hour labor
Mama got a better exchange for her sew.

My father’s hands
return the next day and no rest day
weak and
month years and ears
picked off their bright stocks to fill his bushel of bliss.

See those vegetables scaled
see those vegetables sold to the contractor
see those vegetables stacked onto crates
frozen, compartmentalized into Tetris trucks.

See those vegetables shelved in a rundown grocery store
holes in the ceiling, whole foods antithesis
single mother with a list
works 3 jobs but somehow earns an excess to eat with EBT
she moves her whole self to frozen potatoes – friends of the frying pan
tricked into saving
her children bleed fat in their nativity
undernourished uninsured,
she pays outta cash.

See those vegetables chopped and sautéed and sprinkled
onto an $80 plate carried, waited wastefully
she takes a taste “tastes bland take it away”
shame in this Italian restaurant downtown by the pier
in the exterior
huddled homeless rush to the freshly tossed trash.

See those vegetables fat stacked in my backpack
wet lettuce bulging from the fast food plantation.
See those vegetables home cooked by my mother
quick toss the other
wipes the smell of grease
kiss he plants on her cheek
my father leads her to table
abuelos are waiting.

My father’s hands
sun burnt to crisp blood brightening wrinkled grooves
curve round rough calluses
converge into dirt covered fingernail beds
sprinkle flecks of Earth onto its origins
are hands that nurture, care for, feed, supply.

You eat off my father’s hands
the image disgusts you.

See my father’s hands cuffed together
firmly with a tight grip
no air passing through
Hands dragged by the officer
Fingers prodded apart – ink smeared, scanner pressed.
Father in the cell
until he hears a call
a tray of measly potatoes, a burnt meat loaf, a multibillion dollar prison indusry and vegetables.
My father takes the plastic fork and digs into the food
snaps into two
he takes those hands digs into his fucking vegetables
licking every finger from core to nail guard stares widely
amused by his dog

My father’s lips dried in fear
my father’s mouth – closed
cannot communicate cannot comprehend
the words to respond, the lawyer to request, the mother to confess.
My father’s eyes
well up as the van moves farther and farther away from home.
My father’s heart pumps blood faster and faster and bleeds.

My father’s hands
sun burnt to crisp blood brightening wrinkled grooves
curve round rough calluses
converge into dirt covered fingernail beds
sprinkle flecks of Earth onto its origins
fall to the ground
clasp the dirt unbalanced
pass through the gate abandoned.

You will still be fed.
$ menu funded, prison industrial complex fueled
restaurant receives a 5 star review homeless will sustain,
impoverished still feed hospital bills.

I am fed.

Another father’s hands
strong veins piercing with hope and warmth and dreams and relief
hands with potential, to work for
drop to the ground
clasp the dirt catches his balance through a hole in the fence
and heads to the fields of promise he has long yearned for.

-S.K.

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