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The Whole

I look at my hands. Three fingers are a little crooked from being broken. One 
thumb only bends halfway because I nearly cut it off with a jack-knife when I 
was seven ... scar like a thin pressed smile. In the crook between that thumb 
and index finger is a scar that looks like a 9. I got that one by getting my hand 
caught in a boat ladder. Oddly enough, I have an exact match in the same 
place on the other hand, though that one came from getting my hand hung in 
a Pringles chip can while on an airplane. My knuckles look like a map of rivers 
from all the times they were busted open. My good thumb has a half moon 
burn scar across it, but at least it bends. The underside of my right pinky 
finger has a gnarly little valley at the tip where I ripped most of it away after 
getting it hung on a nail while tearing down and old shed ... never did get much 
feeling back in it. When I turn them over and look at my palms, I wonder how 
many things I've grasped in anger, or tenderness. They're not very soft, 
calloused, and dirty most of the time. Looking at your hands is like looking at 
your life ... where you've been, what you did there, and how well it went. We 
can trace our scars and remember something painful, or maybe something we 
had a hold of but let go ... lost ... those things that tear away at a man until 
his rage isn't much different than his calm, those things that gnaw and bite, 
bend and shiver, leaving jagged edges like busted shells on the shore of a 
deep-cut river, held together with heart strings that are so fragile they are 
always in danger of letting loose. And we push it down. We push it down so 
that we can go on like the men we are. And each time the core of us is 
hollowed out, we replace it with something a little darker, a little heavier, 
something a little too small for the void ... like digging a hole in the ground and 
filling it back in, only to find you don't have enough dirt, and the trace of that 
hole remains, until you take dirt from somewhere else to finish the job, but 
then, you're right back to having another hole to fill. In the end, I reckon there 
just ain't enough dirt to go around, and all things remain that are lost, just like 
the pits and scars on our hands that'll never fully heal, the ones inside us 
won't either. And even though they aren't as easily seen, we'll always feel them 
just a little more deep.

I look at my hands ... and tuck them away in the pockets of a faded
pair of blue jeans.


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  1. Date: 10/17/2014 6:59:00 PM

    I agree with Ana... very powerful. You're really good at taking the tiniest details and transforming them into so much more... it's like all of life is just made of millions of those "little things".... great stuff!
  1. Date: 8/20/2014 6:01:00 PM

    This write is so Powerful!! How you managed to express scars with emotions was wonderful and so well done...I enjoyed it very much Caleb...I look forward to some more of your creativeness :) Ana
  1. Date: 8/8/2014 10:12:00 AM

    Hey lil bro.....felt every word...straight to the a few callouses and half empty holes around here're just plain awesome....and very special....hey to the family
  1. Date: 8/7/2014 10:07:00 AM

    Hi Caleb! I really love reading writes like these, where you glean so much from it, finding a deeper meaning, at the same time allowing me to look into myself...I read somewhere how the hands can be the most overworked part of our extremities, yet they are so strong, how true! Your hands (you) have been through so much, and yet, your strength shines through, with what you say here. That last line made me ponder even more though. Sometimes, it is so much easier to hide our hands, ourselves, less complicated-- but for those people who we have touched, they get to feel those hands, that soul. Thank you for sharing this very introspective write, I especially love the part about dealing with the hollowness.
  1. Date: 8/6/2014 11:19:00 AM

    caleb!.. you're here!... this one is so powerful and personal; i felt you from line 1 till the end... awesome!.. huggs
  1. Date: 7/31/2014 3:11:00 PM

    I love this Caleb the story of hands of many wars both external and internal. Your metaphors sing throughout. I'm glad your back. I nudged a little. When we're in the thick of life it good to take some catharthis time to write. There's the next line for your poem. Lol. Anyway your kind words help always. I cannot imagine the losses as of late. But here's me sending a big colorado hug to help you out. Hold on tight to that family they are precious. Jennifer
  1. Date: 7/31/2014 9:12:00 AM

    Caleb, fantastic write my friend. Good to have you back!
  1. Date: 7/30/2014 11:57:00 PM

    I love this write!!! I carry over a dozen scars , most from fights as a young man.. Two real whoppers from two motorcycle wrecks , three from job injuries and one where a jealous ex-girlfriend( decades ago) stabbed me in the left hand with a screwdriver! You brought back some memories with this fine offering!
  1. Date: 7/30/2014 1:46:00 PM

    CALEB!!!! Caleb, you are back full force. This gutted me. It really did. Men carry so much...and have to hide so much of the pain...Conditioning...It's called conditioning...Little boys don't a brave boy. Oh...scars do remain. We are all walking wounded, but we are ALIVE! Hey....I read this are a spiritual man...OUR MESS...Is HIS MESSAGE! If you didn't have those scars...who now would be touched by your words. Hugs!!