Pythian Games

put on your track shoes and write the miles

My Mother’s Hands

with 7 comments

(Response to Hands Prompt)

My Mother’s hands were never soft and scented. 

Mom was always a hard worker, and her hands told her story. 

Today, her hands tell another story.


I remember Mom’s hands, red and raw, scalded by the dishwater.

I remember Mom’s hands, caked with dirt from the garden, her nails rimmed black.

I remember Mom’s hands, quick and sure, peeling potatoes for her famous potato salad.

I remember Mom’s hands, cold and bony, touching my cheek to prove to me how cold it was outside.

I remember Mom’s hands, sharp and hard, like her sudden slaps.


Mom’s hands are no longer rough and worn.

Her papery skin looks like vellum,

But is soft like velvet.

Her left is paralyzed, claw-like.

Mom can still feed herself,

Write some, scrub a little.

Now Mom has to ask for help.

I know she hates that,

She who was always

so independent and strong.

It took a stroke for Mom to have soft hands.


Today I am very grateful for my rough, red hands,

Still strong and capable.


© 2008 Kerry Vincent



Written by kvwordsmith

September 4, 2008 at 5:53 pm

Posted in KerryWordsmith

Tagged with , , , , ,

7 Responses

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  1. So very true for so many mothers. Mine sat for hours in the evenings sewing beautiful and very smart garments out of our wealthier relatives clothing–I regret that I took so much fore-granted so very long ago. Fran


    September 5, 2008 at 7:57 am

  2. This made me remember my own mother’s hands.


    September 5, 2008 at 7:40 pm

  3. This mix of sadness and strength has really touched me.


    September 6, 2008 at 1:11 pm

  4. This is lovely, Kerry. Makes us appreciate how much easier we have it than did our mothers and grandmothers. Wonder what they would think of all our labor saving devices.


    September 6, 2008 at 3:02 pm

  5. This is a really beautiful piece of writing Kerry. It really touched me. It’s amazing how a whole story can be told with so few words.

    Thanks for sharing.


    September 6, 2008 at 3:12 pm

  6. I have large Iarge Irish hands, but my daughters have small hands, like their father. When I see how strong and capable and weathered those little hands have become, it makes me cry – they are still small, but they are womens’ hands, hands to be proud of.


    September 6, 2008 at 11:07 pm

  7. A strong and moving tribute.


    September 21, 2008 at 7:11 am

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