Little Hands, Big Hands

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Her little hands tuck into his big ones
As they dance around the living room, the old record player turning.
Her white dress twirls as he spins her around
Giggles jump out of her throat.
Her mother watches them, quiet tears in her eyes.
What her daughter doesn’t know won’t hurt her.

Some children find safety in a blanket or bear
She found it in his hands
When he’d come home early from work
She’d climb on his lap and rest her head on his chest
Listening to him breathe, feeling the rhythm of the rising and falling
Until her eyes put themselves to sleep.

He took her to the seashore
They walked together, their feet making prints in the soft sand
Little feet and big feet, looking beautiful together.
The ocean must have thought so, too
Because in minutes they were licked away
Like the sea wanted to save them for itself.

Sometimes he sang to her softly at night
As she lay in her little bed, her hand touching his.
And he thought and prayed for her
He asked God to take care of her
As he gave her gentle kisses on her cheek,
Silent, wet tears touching her soft skin.

The rain pelted outside, turning twilight into mist.
She asked him to dance with her, one last time.
She began to sing their special song.
And he smiled as he lifted a weak hand to twirl her
And she stayed there, singing to him
Until his eyes shut, her little hands still in his big ones.

What she didn’t know then, she knew now.
And now she stood on the sand, alone.
Her mother watching her from a distance
As she wrote her daddy’s name in the sand
Watching the waves take it away, little by little.
Maybe the ocean wanted to keep daddy for itself, too.





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