Diana Rosen: “Hands”

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Drawing,_study_of_left_hand_resting_on_a_circular_object,_ca._1885_(CH_18404377)

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Hands

Small, graceful, carefully manicured every Monday evening while she sits in her Queen Anne chair next to the good floor lamp, my mother’s hands always hold the winning gin rummy cards or they’re curved against staccato knitting needles fashioning the woolen sweater she would never finish. (It hangs still in my closet, a nubby remnant one arm missing, a bodice half done.)

Aided by an antique silver and gold thimble, her fingers deftly work the needle, creating embroidery stitches of vivid names her clear-polished forefinger points to on the overturned sampler showing how perfection is not just on the surface.

Hands, purposeful and strong, guide the huge mangle over brilliant white muslin sheets cascading into the willow basket below. End-of-day hands hold paperback westerns read in deep of night, her gentle husband snoring in his easy slumber. Hands stroke the maternity dress over a baby soon stillborn; adjust the gas flame under the chunky beef stew she cooks hours for exquisite flavor. Hands, held behind her, pull her mouth into a line of unexplained fear, or severe shyness?

At the gleaming mahogany secretary, she sits in constant anxiety, scribbling notes in her mammoth black leather notebook of recipes; or writes to one sister in long-term care, to another sister of her heart’s pain engraved as teeth marks on her navy Shaeffer fountain pen.

She lies on the vacuumed carpet beside the freshly-made bed unnoticed too long in that awful quiet of seeping blood vessels, hands in push-up position trying to right herself. Hands cold. Rigid. Ready for the last task.

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About the Author: Diana Rosen is a journalist and avid tea enthusiast, with six books on the topic, who writes poetry, essays, and flash fiction and creative nonfiction. Her work appears in RATTLE, Tiferet Journal, Mad Swirl, PIF Magazine, and Potato Soup Journal, among others. She loves exploring Los Angeles’s Griffith Park, the country’s largest public green space, which is her 4,000-acre “backyard.” To read more of her work, please visit www.authory.com/dianarosen

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More by Diana Rosen:

Dinner at Six

Hollywood Freeway

Mrs. Reagan, Who Lived Next Door

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Image Credit: Elihu Vedder “Study of a hand resting on a circular object” (1885) Public Domain

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