If There’s an Angel of Lost Gloves

my father didn’t believe and didn’t wait
for holy intercession. He mislaid his gloves
faster than his temper. He wasn’t careless,

though I never knew him to lay hands
on the tool he needed when he needed it.
So he bought pair after pair, suede

cowhide fit to stretch barbed wire. Still,
he usually worked with only one hand
sheathed and sometimes then

with the fingers blown out, each digit
ruptured by the snag of steel points
reaching next to rip open skin.

Now, I find his leather fingers cupping air
like wren nests, lingering in buckets,
on shed shelves, on the aged oak floor

of the barn loft, in the midst of a task,
maybe a pair of nails within reach
as if he’ll return when he finds his hammer.

 

Denton Loving is the author of the poetry collection Crimes Against Birds (Main Street Rag) and editor of Seeking Its Own Level, an anthology of writings about water (MotesBooks).  His writing has recently appeared or is forthcoming in Iron Horse Literary Review, Gulf Stream Literary Magazine, The Chattahoochee Review and The Threepenny Review. Follow him on Twitter @DentonLoving.