My dad went ambidextrous after Vietnam: a mortar shell hit near his jeep and broke his shoulder. Mom drew pigs and dogs but never horses with her left, a cigarette pinched in her right. My sisters, lefties both. And I’ve slugged with my right hand all my life: my left is bigger though. I see Mom’s soft hands now: her long white fingers stained old gold with nicotine. She never got to San Francisco. I’ve gone for her, worked it out in half-assed poems. “Never wanted kids,” she used to say, smoke jetting from the corner of her mouth. “A free spirit’s what I should have been.” My dad lived milder, rubbing lotion in his hands at night: the letters he delivered daily sucked the oil out. And two beers in, he’d joke and wave those hands like great beige birds. No, don’t say mourning doves.
Thomas Zimmerman (he/him) teaches English, directs the Writing Center, and edits The Big Windows Review https://thebigwindowsreview.com/ at Washtenaw Community College, in Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA. His poems have appeared recently in Streetcake Magazine and The Minison Project. His latest book is Domestic Sonnets (Cyberwit.net, 2021). Website: https:/thomaszimmerman.wordpress.com Twitter: @bwr_tom Instagram: tzman2012