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Maryfrances Wagner: Hands (a poem translated to ASL by Eric Epstein)

American Sign Language translator: Eric Epstein

Running time: 3 minutes

Email subscribers may click on the title of this post to watch the video.



by Maryfrances Wagner


Of a thousand hands

I’d know my father’s,

long fingers shaped like oars,

the index scar,

the flat, grooved nails,

hands that fixed the doll’s arm,

mended Whisker’s ear, checked homework.

Those hands grated romano over Sunday pasta,

curled around glasses of wine

he toasted with at dinner,

or opened to offer the sweetest mulberries,

the ripest figs from his trees.


Once he kept a parsley caterpillar

so I could watch it emerge from its cocoon.

The jar was too small, though;

the wings dried with a crease.

It walked the long ramp of my father’s hand,

off balance at takeoff.

It fanned and fanned,

but the crease would not unfold,

the wings could not lift.

My father set it in the grass,

and we watched it walk

the short runway of its life,

a tiny lopsided glider without wind.

My father’s hands, like long anchors,

dangled at his sides.  

Copyright 2022 Maryfrances Wagner

source: Gardening Know How

3 comments on “Maryfrances Wagner: Hands (a poem translated to ASL by Eric Epstein)

  1. Lisa Zimmerman
    October 4, 2022

    Oh! Beautiful ❤️


  2. Patty McMillen
    September 14, 2022

    Love the poem, love the interpretation. Thank you!


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This entry was posted on September 14, 2022 by in Opinion Leaders, Poetry, Social Justice and tagged , , , , , , .

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