When Mother's Hands Were Magic

When Mother's Hands Were Magic

Do you remember when your mother's hands were magic?

When they looked like hands

Smelled like hands

Felt soft and calloused and strong like hands but weren't like your hands because

They were magic

When your shoelaces knotted up too tight for your pudgy fingers to pry loose

Too tight for your sense of patience to outlast

And your mother would float over

Moving her hands over the laces like she was untying the knot but really she

Was performing magic

There was something in those hands, her hands, that could do anything

Everything you couldn't do

They were a healing salve and a hook and a needle and a knife and an anchor and a map and a lifejacket all in one

All connected to the arms and shoulders and neck and head and body of this wonderful, terrible, magical woman

Your mother

Last week in the dressing room of a TJ Maxx I tried to slip my shoes off only to find the left laces knotted and stuck

And I stuck my shoe under the door for my mother to use her magic on

I stood there, waiting

As her hands moved across the laces like she was untying the knot

As her hands tugged at the knot and yanked on the knot and picked at the knot

As she gently pushed my shoe back under the door, suggested I try on dresses, suggested I go out and ask for a pair of scissors

And I stood there, tears welling in my eyes, not because I couldn't do these tasks

Not because I was attached to the shoe or the laces or even the foot or the leg

But because the magic 

Was gone

And it had been replaced with dresses


And I stood there, sobbing, in the TJ Maxx dressing room, yanking at my shoe, seething onto the laces, my knuckles white with despair, tension

Until the knot popped open

I brought my hands in front of my face

They looked like, smelled like, felt like normal hands

But they weren't anymore

They were magic



17 years old



18 years old

The Voice

December 2023

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