Guitar Hands, Sue Fagalde Lick

Michael Diehl, Guitar



Guitar Hands


I wear gloves
when I garden.
A thorn prick
could end a career.

But I can’t avoid
the knife slips,
paper cuts,
hinge pinches,
door smashes.

Fingers exposed,
easily wounded,
are hard to heal.

I buff and lotion
and avoid sharp edges
but the wiry strings
plough deep furrows
in thick calluses
that harden and peel,
break and bleed,
and harden again.

Bandaging a cut
on my fingertip,
I think about
my father’s hands,
workman’s hands,
tattooed with scars,
cuts and bruises,
thumbs blackened,
nails falling off.

He didn’t trust those
who did not work
with their hands.

The strings bite.
I grit my teeth
and play another song.

Sue Fagalde Lick


Review by Dale Champlin

With an economy of words, this poem is a poetic ode to the musician’s instruments, her hands. As protective as a hand model but unhindered by vanity, the guitar player follows her father’s fingerprints, making music in spite of pain. I can feel the callouses toughening.

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