He’d shake your hand as though he were pulling a weed.
And when I turned twelve he taught me how to
see through the soiled promises of earthly negotiations.
His instructions were conveyed in wheelbarrow loads
and his wisdom was a never-ending mist from a bug spray can.
His long grey pants with matching sweatshirt left only the sight
of sun-spotted hands that gave a fighting chance to many a Spring seed.
Those same hands, he washed with careful intention,
studying the dirt that ran down the sides of the white porcelain sink
before trading his sweat for homemade soup when Nana called us in for lunch.
His silent smile indicated that such things would always bring joy if you let them.
As I think of him today, shuffling through the hallways of the nursing home,
my hands are dry with a hundred cuts, my arms are beds of tiny pink bumps
and my heart carries the blood of the man
whose entire body now waves goodbye.
Lawrence Maxwell is an emerging Prince Edward Island writer. His joy for writing began in elementary school, when he penned a series of short stories surrounding a central character, “Oddey the Mouse.” In early adulthood, he began to focus on music, winning the 2019 Music PEI Country Album of the Year for his debut album Not Your Outlaw. His sophomore album, Almost Natural was also a Music PEI award winner and was nominated for an ECMA in 2021. Poetry has always gone hand in hand with Lawrence’s music. His debut poetry collection, Morning Spoon, was shortlisted for the 2022 Island Literary Awards. Find him at https://www.lawrencemaxwell.com
5 thoughts on “Poppy’s Handshake – by Lawrence Maxwell”
Love this, Max. Very vivid!
“… before trading his sweat for homemade soup when Nana called us in for lunch.
His silent smile indicated that such things would always bring joy if you let them.”
Thank you, Mr. Maxwell, for your achingly lovely tribute to lives well lived. 🌷☘️
Thank you, Miriam, for sharing. 😇
Beautiful. Congratulations Lawrence!
Good words, good format = good story, great poem, thanks.
I absolutely love the metaphor to describe such a well-loved and unforgettable character!