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his fingers John Clark Vincent

there were moments when my father could not stand. could only lay, rigid with pain, on tasteless teal carpet my mother chose for our dining room floor. he lay beside the used, upright piano she had found at a local sale then painted pink once it was delivered. the piano i enjoyed playing but hated practicing on. i never practiced when my father’s back was bad. his fingers squeezed white knuckled anything in reach. a leg of the piano stool or the pipe feeding a heat radiator if the spasms came in warmer months. i don’t know why the piano stool wasn’t pink. i always assumed my mother ran out of paint but i never asked. now she’s dead and so’s my dad, but i remember the one time the ambulance came. a single tear rolled down his cheek as two attendants who knew him lifted him onto their gurney. i thought his fingers might snap that metal frame. his hands were large, hardened by the farm and by his own stubbornness. i was afraid of him and i loved him. before the ambulance arrived my older brother and his friends came by, back from college. my father made me meet them at the door and find a way to keep them outside. don’t let them in, he said. so i took my own money and gave it to my brother and sent them on an errand. i don’t remember what they bought but i can’t forget how proud i felt, even though my father said nothing. it wasn’t praise i was looking for when i held his hand, waiting for help.

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Profile for Apeiron Review

Apeiron Review | Summer 2015  

The summer issue of Apeiron Review, a Philadelphia-based literary magazine, is ready for you and a glass of your favorite beverage. Cool off...

Apeiron Review | Summer 2015  

The summer issue of Apeiron Review, a Philadelphia-based literary magazine, is ready for you and a glass of your favorite beverage. Cool off...