My grandfather’s hands reach through the thick
Steam clouds of America’s great iron horses.
Strong, weathered hands covered in the black crust
Of coal dust immune to hot water and lye suds.
Our fingertips have never met over the years and
Tears that flow over the calluses and carpal tunnel.
A daughter’s freedom fight waged against the Old country
Rigidity and bigotry smothered the familial, and losers all.
Yet, so much of me is scorched by the railroad steel and
The Pennsylvania soil toiled by Germanic stoicism.
I am he, cupped in those battered hands that reach silently.
He is me, flowing through fingertips onto stark silence.
Mute stoicism brands us through the centuries with
Destruction still to the familial, with only the hope that
Past century’s lessons learned will last, and at last
Conquer the stubborn Attila the Hun barbarianism.