• Vol. 04
  • Chapter 01
Image by

My Grandfather’s Gloves

We never knew that my grandfather
loved gloves. True, my mother once
gave me a pair of work gloves she
said had been his, their lining rough
against my teenage skin, but the secret
of his passion hid for years, locked inside
a steel box under the tool shed window.

I remembered him digging in the vegetable
garden, hoeing the soil, scattering new seed.
I loved to watch him polish the old Buick
that sat gathering dust and sunlight in our
old barn. He always wore a pair of gloves
when he worked around his place, but I
never noticed its color or kind.

I was in my twenties when he died, cried
hard when I heard he’d left me the Buick.
And afterward, when I helped to clean out
the shed, helped my father pry open the rusty
padlock on that box, we learned my grandfather
had gloves in every color, every style, as if he
had matched them to each task at hand.


My Grandfather’s Gloves

Green for the spring garden, gold and rust for
the autumn harvest, blue for the Buick, gray
and black for all the rainy days or shoveling
snow. We never knew when he’d shut them
away from his remaining years, or why. Maybe
when arthritis warped his trusty fingers, bent him
over to face the earth?

I’ve tacked all his gloves on my wall, try them
on when I need them, when I need to feel his
hands grip mine and see again his steely glance
that tells me to do it, just do it! I flex or fist my
fingers in his, celebrating their inheritance.
But I can not solve the mystery of a single gray
ghost glove, long-fingered, female, and so soft.