My Grandfather's Hands

When I first think of Vincent Defrancesco I think of his hands, 

which were often used to help butcher animals with his father in their shop. 

Those hands, large and smooth , held my grandmother's hand for the first time 

on their way to her first high school dance. 

Those hands  held each of his 4 children when they were each born,

 in the palm of his hand

 admiring their beauty and uniqueness. 

As a chef, gourmet meals were created with his still rough hands 

trying to impress his customers. 

His hands were the hands that would always beat me at thumb wars when I was younger.    

His thumb was slippery but strong at the same time 

while he would pin mine down and yell, “I win, I win!!.” 

His wedding ring part of his ring finger, after being cherished and worn for 49 years.

Like the four seasons; his hands were smooth and strong like the spring and summer, 

but became weak and rough like fall leading into winter. 

Now his hands, rough with calluses, barely stay still as they shake uncontrollably. 

Those hands once full of energy and positivity ,are now still and weak and full of sadness. 

His hands became weak and pale fighting for his life in a hospital bed. 

I remember when I was younger,  holding his hand while we got ice cream on the 

boardwalk during summer , his hands being so strong and smooth. 

Before he passed away holding his hands once again wasn’t the same 

but I could feel the full life he had lived through them.

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