My Father’s Hands

calloused and torn,
stubborn and hard headed,
moved through,
dressed as wreckage,
weathered the dark ocean,
sandpapered thin,
spoke in different tongues,
silenced again,
between the axles,
hid from the bullets,
grabbed the belt,
full of veins telling stories,
full of shelter,
lighted the incense,
bruised as an oar,
witnessed it all yet
forgot how to sing.



Whatever they say whatever you hear whatever you felt whatever you screamed whatever you cried whatever your struggles whatever you wonder whatever they took personally whatever they tried to protect whatever they shoved down your throat whatever was swept under the rug whatever was lost at sea whatever you desire whatever they whispered under their breath whatever they chose to ignore whatever you lost over and over whatever they hid from you whatever cage you felt whatever you buried inside whatever they spit at you whatever they stole whatever names they called you whatever you question whatever you thought whatever is working against you whatever they want they take whatever they take they have forever whatever they take whatever they take takes you whatever it takes whatever it takes whatever it takes whatever it takes to keep going.


Anhvu Buchanan is the author of The Disordered (sunnyoutside press) and Backhanded Compliments & Other Ways to Say I Love You (Works on Paper Press ) and Which Way To Go or Here (Platypus Press) co-written with Brent Piller. he was the recipient of the James D. Phelan Award and also received an Individual Artists Grant from the San Francisco Arts Commission. He received an MFA in creative writing from San Francisco State. He currently teaches in San Francisco and can be found online at or on twitter @anhvubuchanan.