local_library My Father’s Hand

by Bob Slaymaker

Published in Issue No. 23 ~ April, 1999

We lived in Whitestone, Queens, an hour from the ocean.
On the rare summer days we went to Jones Beach,
we had to apply Sea ‘N Ski from head to toe
(we were fair and burned easily).
Mom was the best to have put it on you.
She used both hands, which were soft, gentle,
in touch with what it felt like to have lotion put on them.
She kind of massaged the Sea ‘N Ski on you, taking time to work it in.
Dad used only one hand, the other hand holding the green plastic bottle.
His hand was stiff, he always pressed too hard, and in a matter of seconds
he’d finished the job, leaving you feeling like you’d been manhandled,
which you had been.