These hands

These hands
could cradle a baby
or a gun.

Strong hands
scarred, stained, calloused by
throwing hay bales,
pulling potatoes out of cold earth,
tightening barbed wire to fence posts.

Gentle hands
to calm a frightened cow,
hold a child’s trust,
love a weary woman.

Quick hands
pitching a baseball,
throwing a hammer,
changing a tire.

Steady hands,
guiding a child on a bicycle,
pulling a bow,
writing a letter.

Old hands,
losing their grip,
gnarled, stiff,
no longer able to hold
even a cup of coffee
or a memory.

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