after Joanna Russ
Tiny hands comes out of her back and catch the things she drops. They don’t look like her hands, they have stubbier fingers and wider palms and they’re all difference colors of the rainbow which needless to say her hands aren’t. Her hands are just the one color. They’re very fast, these hands, and very accurate: nothing she’s dropped over the years (and over the years she’s dropped so many things) has ever reached the floor, the table, her lap. The hands are there, zip, tidying and guarding her.
Whatever the hands grab disappears. Sometimes she finds whatever it was again a few days or a week later, squared away where it belongs, but more often she doesn’t. Once she dropped her grandmother’s ring, the one the old woman brought over with her on the boat from the Randiska Visnjevica, the one that her mother wouldn’t let her hold until she was all grown up and even then she mustn’t ever lose it. And so of course she drops it and zip go the hands and it’s gone.
She cries for days.
Then one morning she wakes up and the ring is back on her finger, sunlight flashing from the stone as if to say, sorry, feel better, we’re on your side.