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Laura, Toucan Editrice

Monday, February 14, 2011

Third Hand, James Valvis

I study my father’s stubby pencil stuck
behind his ear. He pulls it, draws
a calculation on wood,
then it goes back behind his ear,
but he puts it back badly,
too high so it’s slipping down his neck.
What a weird third hand, I think,
placed on the side of his head,
a hand with no fingers but a grip.
He notices me staring vacantly
and pulls a cigarette, lights up.
“The problem with you, James,”
he says, smoke curling, making
him squint, “is you daydream
all the time, rather than work.”
Then he returns to his calculations
He’s so lost in the problem
he doesn’t notice when the pencil
slips from his ear and rolls to me.

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