Fingers - Baltimore Post-ExaminerBaltimore Post-Examiner

 Fingers

Raspy cough,

white bathrobe,

fingers

reaching for your ivory

coffee mug,

red lipstick

on the rim,

fingers,

slender and strong

like vice grips,

nails stripped of polish,

fingers,

so many years before

pressing a cold washcloth

against my fevered forehead.

fingers,

stretching for chocolate,

sneaking smokes.

fingers,

clasping crochet needles,

like conductors’ batons,

stitching in smooth rhythm.

fingers,

bouncing basketballs,

gracefully releasing

black bowling balls,

fingers,

long and loving,

sliding down columns,

checking my math.

fingers,

wiping my tears

when the numbers were wrong.

fingers,

stiffened from stroke,

still pointing

from the passenger seat.

fingers,

cold

against my palm.

fingers

on our last morning.





About the author

Len Shindel

Len Shindel began working at Bethlehem Steel’s Sparrows Point Plant in 1973, where he was a union activist and elected representative in local unions of the United Steelworkers, frequently publishing newsletters about issues confronting his co-workers. His nonfiction and poetry have been published in the “Other Voices” section of the Baltimore Evening Sun, The Pearl, The Mill Hunk Herald, Pig Iron, Labor Notes and other publications. After leaving Sparrows Point in 2002, Shindel, a father of three and grandfather of seven, began working as a communication specialist for an international union based in Washington, D.C. The International Labor Communications Association frequently rewarded his writing. He retired in 2016. Today he and his wife, Maxine, live in Garrett County where he enjoys writing, cross-country skiing, kayaking, hiking, fly-fishing and fighting for a more peaceful, sustainable and safe world for his grandchildren and their generation Contact the author.
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