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Hands or Head

By: Wayne Miles-Underhill

You’d best find something to do with your head as you have no talent in your hands

my father said to me once as he bent over his plane. I watched the

curly shaves of wood float down and fur his boots.

The pine smell ticked into my nose. I’m remembering

those words now as I try to use my brain to figure out why he died rich and I live poor.

My hands though old now are soft and buttery

a bit yellow and veined, one finger attacked by a fungus

that my doctor says will go away if I apply the unguent long enough.

He says many things to me these days.

He, unlike my father has no suggestions on how to use my head.

Like many before me my fingers curl around my pen .

Words sometimes flow from it.

My goodly and patient wife dutifully passes her judgements

and from her body language I know if one is sufficient to send off.

I  listen to her words as she loves me and would never criticize.

She does say that there never is any money coming in from this use of my head.

Women need coin to run households and get their hair done sometimes.

I remember the sweat in the clothes of my father as he worked his wood into shapes that people could rest things on.

I have a piece next to my bed. He didn’t make it though. Someone else perspired over it. I think woodworkers make things so many times they don’t need to use their heads.

I sweat in my own way. My muscles don’t ache. My eyes get tired and my imagination takes me on journeys that take great effort.

My clothes get damp but that’s because I walk in strange lands and it rains there.

I am lucky. Some like my stuff. I don’t ask anyone to like it, just experience it good or bad.

I never get any money but

I still get to work with my head. It is just that simple. Just like my Dad. Everything is simple.

Like his life’s work, mine is only temporary.

I am glad I took his advice.

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