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Knuckle Head


It would only be hours later leaving with a bandaged hand

feeling sorry for myself in a fair bit of pain that 

I would remember her frost deformed fingers

conveying maternal tenderness 

in everything.


It’s not often that I write,

something happened, prompting this sharing: 

something I've lost that once seemed important

but may be not such a big deal

beside the image of her working around and through it all––

life, without any sight at all.


Maybe I’m just a slow learner, but

Smart as I am, I took the moment, collapsed the ladder

Dumb as I am, I lost my grip, let it slide

rush into space too small for us both

Something had to give, and

Flesh will always yield to steel, every time.


Looking on astonished

Mind refusing to receive the rich deep pain 

Conveyed by sight, by hand, by half 

Chewed carrot of a red stubbed finger 

Presenting itself to treatment;

Hours later, hurt like the blazes

Could pull some four lettered prayer

Through all those working days, tasks

compelling me without care

for my sorry feelings.


She’s gone some long years now

Her life still teaching and still 

I slowly learn, recall

her uncomplaining spirit, 

her vision, triumphant over all;

Well slap me silly, my little loss fades

Give me this finger, healing nicely––

It just stops at the first knuckle, is all.


About this: This is my rendition of a story my brother, Jon Knight , wrote about a work accident, and his emotional journey of re-discovery that followed it. The injury, the words, the thoughts, the grace in the face of pain and loss, the poetry, are all his own. 

 I appreciate his consent to my including his story in this form.

 © Philip Knight 2018