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  • My Father's Hands
  • Erik James Wilbur (bio)

My father's hands have been calloused handssince before the stucco won the sunlight war.

He once walked with twelve-gauge and muddy Labradorwhere I now park my car.

& at twilight,the untamed delta breeze still sings their songthough brustling bulrushlike taut horse hair drawn over nickel,a tune of a distant fiddle,close enough to hear but not feel.My father hums the parts he can remember. [End Page 57]

And while he scrapes flakes of grease out from underneath his fingernails with a straightenedpaperclip he found in the junk drawer in the kitchen,he surveys his calloused hands,made to feel the oily wet snap of a mallard's neck,made for pushing up barbed wire to clear space to step through fences.

He once told me, "pavement's man's best fence,it's the one that can't be lifted."

And I saw his eyes well up like moonshine—not like the moon shines—but like a mason jar filled to the brim. [End Page 58]

Erik James Wilbur

Erik James Wilbur feels most at home in Sacramento, California's midtown district. But in 2009, he met his wife and, making an uncharacteristically impulsive decision, moved away from there to be with her. He is currently studying English as an undergraduate at San Diego State University. He has inherited a love of the outdoors from his father, and takes every opportunity to head up into the Sierra Nevada to channel the ghost of John Muir. An archer, fisherman, and bicycle enthusiast, he has also been known to shamelessly spend an entire day in his cluttered studio apartment watching documentaries, or Aaron Sorkin teledramas. After he graduates, he plans to pursue an MFA in creative writing.



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pp. 57-58
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
Archive Status
Archived 2012
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