I am a fairly large man but I have small hands.
this is a disadvantage in fist fights
but being in my sixties moving toward seventy
I have long since retired from that–
I haven’t swung at anybody for a couple of
months(I was intoxicated New Year’s eve, help-
ing my intoxicated part-time gardner up the
drive–down the drive–toward his auto
when upon a thought I straightened him for
a shot, swung and missed).

all right.  this is about hands.   back to

I buy fish at this small San Pedro shop.
the old boy, the keeper, he has been there
for years
a fine fellow.

we always make small talk as he weighs and
wraps the fish.

after that
I pay with some bills and he comes back
with the change.

I hold my hand out and here comes this huge
hand of his and
he drops the change into my little hand.

I pocket the change, pick up the fish and
walk toward the door.

“take it easy,” he says.

“you too, buddy,” I tell him
then walk out the door toward my car.
always thinking, this guy should have been
my buddy in the old days of the schoolyards
when I had to fight off and bluff away
the bullies
it would have saved me much of the old
mental agony

meanwhile, his fish are fresh, the
best in town.

Charles Bukowski
Original manuscript