First Person
First Love
By Shaindel Beers
December 4, 2007

Anxious for the nine o'clock break,
at eight-thirty I would light the porch,
line the sink with gauze, cotton balls, peroxide,
austere tools of love
wanting him to bring his hands to me
small, delicate hands
an artist's or surgeon's
displaced by the lack of a diploma
twisting wires ten hours a day.

When his Grand Prix rumbled into the drive,
I would look not at his face
but his hands
and nightly make the same, sharp sigh
when I had counted ten
like a new mother,
knowing that metal which cuts bricks
could lay siege to fingers too.

I'd fold his hands in mine
like folding sugar into butter
and lead him past my disapproving parents
to my makeshift triage
under the fluorescent buzz of bathroom lights.
Awed by the horrid beauty
of miniscule rivulets of blood,
the muted glitter of metal shards
just under the skin,

I'd begin my gentle ritual
of tweezing out steel slivers,
flooding the red rivers white with peroxide,
softly blowing away the sting
then, I would send him back, bandaged,
with a sandwich,
to the big, block building just outside of town
and return to my geometry.

About the author:
Shaindel Beers is a Professor of English at Blue Mountain Community College in Pendleton, Oregon. Her poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction have been widely published in journals and anthologies. She listens to the Prairie Home Companion because Lake Wobegon, Minnesota, seems surprisingly similar to Argos, Indiana, her hometown.

Old Sweet Songs: A Prairie Home Companion 1974-1976

Old Sweet Songs

Lovingly selected from the earliest archives of A Prairie Home Companion, this heirloom collection represents the music from earliest years of the now legendary show: 1974–1976. With songs and tunes from jazz pianist Butch Thompson, mandolin maestro Peter Ostroushko, Dakota Dave Hull and the first house band, The Powdermilk Biscuit Band (Adam Granger, Bob Douglas and Mary DuShane).

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