One Saturday
when I was ten my father,
a truck driver, taught me
how to paint using our porch
steps as his classroom.
I can still feel his huge hand
around mine guiding the brush
brilliant with green paint
across the wooden step
and the thrill of watching
the pigment sink in, turning
scuffed to glossy. My father
told me, “Always bring the
brush back into where you
have just painted, before
you go on to the new spot,”
and he would move my hand
to the left then slide the brush
onto the next patch of worn wood.
We painted two steps together
then he let go of my hand and
honored me by letting me paint
the bottom step on my own.
I still hear his voice urging
me to bring the brush back
to blend the paint into one
continuous stroke of green.
I don’t know why after 50 years
these words remain
like lyrics of a favorite song
but I keep seeing that Saturday,
and feel the paint on my fingers
and hear my father’s soft
instruction as I now bend to
my young son and guide his hand
holding a paint brush across
his skate board ramp. I repeat
the exact words of my father
and hear him speaking with me
then feel his hand upon my hand
holding his grandson’s hand
as together we guide Liam’s brush
across the ramp, reaching back
to go forward, our brush marks red
as a bloodline, seamless, beautiful.

—Edwin Romond, Wind Gap, PA