Shades of Brown

Floating Ladders1
By Lheydrian Martinez

When I was born,
His hands held me close to his chest.
They were calloused, and stained with grease.
They worked long days on cars,
So the oil caked under his fingernails.
His hands were two strong oak trees.
They were always golden shades of nutmeg.
At least that’s the way they looked in the photographs.

They didn’t look like that when I was ten.
They were a dull creamed coffee color.
The fingernails were colorless and long.
His fingers; smooth and clean like a bar of soap.
His hands that were once sturdy oaks,
Now trembled amongst the wind; like the auburn leaves of fall.
His arms became the branches of a young birch.
Only able to support the amber glass wrapped around his fingers.

Flames do not yield to the beauty of a forest.
They devour a Pine tree in a single sitting.
Munch on its roots for dessert.
From the ashes, tiny emerald specks will appear.
The rotten bark of a mighty Redwood had vanished,
Uncovering new flesh.
The blistering invaders may have ate away the green beauty
But, in the wake of destruction, rebirth unfolds instantly.

His hands don’t tremble anymore.
They’re the color of broken cinnamon.
The lines of his fingers are coated with engine grime.
His fingernails are dirty with tar.
His palms are hard, and rough
Like the stubble on his chin.
His arms remind me of the burnt Redwood;
New, strong, and able to survive through the fire.

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