In this light my knuckles look soft,
small and uneventful, nothing
like the swollen pink of my father’s.
They look harmless, my knuckles,
and the light has nothing to do with it.
My dad’s always looked menacing,
gripping a steering wheel or
pulling a belt off by the buckle.
I took a picture of my fist
and stared at it for hours.
Everybody has fists,
but there are differences,
and I want to purge mine
before my child comes into the world
with blank, bare knuckles.
Before my child knows
what a fist is or learns to feel
the bone chips that lie under
the surface of mine and realizes
knuckles don’t stay bare for long.
Ryan W. Bradley has fronted a punk band, done construction in the Arctic Circle and managed a children's bookstore. He is the author of a chapbook, Aquarium (Thunderclap Press, 2010), and a novel, Code for Failure (Black Coffee Press, 2012). He is the editor of Artistically Declined Press and received his MFA from Pacific University. His poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in a myriad of publications including The Oregonian, Oranges & Sardines, Sir! Magazine and PANK. He lives in Oregon with his wife and two sons. Ryan is also Morning Gorgeous. He is not Ryan Reynolds.
Photo by Adam Lawrence.
Street art by Kosbey.