photo of baby holding an adult's fingers

Father-Daughter Hands by Todd Dillard

Strangers on the street tell me
I am having a baby girl.
They do this even when my wife
and her swelling belly
aren’t there to be deciphered,
touched. They say it’s my hands,
that if I was having a boy
my fingers would curl, forming nascent fists
ready to wield footballs, belts, a throat.
But these my girl-father’s hands
glow the dull of beer cans and rifle barrels,
ready-made to thumb shells into chambers,
press stock to my shoulder and fire
curfews. Congratulations, they say.
At night I trace the amber line
cleaving my wife’s stomach into hemispheres
and bend to her sanguine galaxy.
“People can be fucking assholes,”
I whisper to it, and she smacks my head.
Inside her, our baby kicks
as if to agree, as if to say
tell me something I don’t already know.

Todd Dillard‘s writing has appeared or is forthcoming in numerous publications, including NANO Fiction, Best New Poets, Atticus Review, Split Lip Magazine, and Barrelhouse. His chapbook, The Drowned Hymns, is available from Jeanne Duval Editions, and his work has been nominated for the Best Small Fictions 2018 anthology.

Lead image“ds628 Connection” (via Flickr user Mattias)