Don't Crack The Face
by Gail Denham

Josh's face was deeply lined, corrugated
by years of dust erosion, stringing wire
on juniper posts, onery cow events, kicking
ever-present dry sage rolls that pierced
when grabbed with ungloved hands.

His hands—well they were a sight twice
equal to his face, scarred, couple fingers
gone, unhealed cracks that cried pain.
At evening meals, Josh barely managed
a grunt when spoken to—his duty plain—
eat fast, get back to work.

And then one evening, the tiny daughter
of his heart quietly put her plate under
her chair, where the herd dog gulped dreaded
vegetables the mother insisted the child
needed. As if to distract, the daughter sidled
up to Josh, leaned her head against his
sunburned neck, murmured her day.
And then Josh laughed.

Oregon Christian Writers newsletter, 2013


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