Hands


by Molia Dumbleton

On the first of the month, Nana snips the string from the top of the sack, tugs the stitches one by one, and hands the thick shop man a nickel for grunting it up the back stairs. One, two, Nana scoops flour, three, three and a half will do for now, pats white hands on aproned hips, claps the metal lid back over a hundred-pound bin, levels the flour down as she uses it by every pound, pound and a half that man threw over his shoulder, says never mind that mother of yours, she don't know what's good for herself never mind a sensible girl like you.

Nana eyes hands, not bodies, and I am forced to guess that soft flour palms would be dusty, and sweet, if she were to cup my chin, say let's put some meat on that eye, some butter on that burn. One, two, Nana counts at bedtime, three, three and a half, now, girlie, and put that little behind of yours into that big bed of mine, just for tonight, and I'll let you tell me a story. Tap Nana's back door again, one, two, eggs crack and butter softens 'til hands can roll it smooth, and sprinkle sugar over berries and forget about the man downstairs and the mama who brought him. Nana's hands sew buttons back on without looking, thread ripped knees back whole, measure three feet, four feet, four and a half, and pencil me into her pantry.


BIO: Molia Dumbleton's fiction has appeared or is forthcoming in Kenyon Review Online, The New England Review, Hobart, and The Seattle Review. In addition, she was awarded First Prize in the Sean O'Faolain International Short Story Competition in Fall of 2013. The winning story, "The Way We Carried Ourselves," was featured at the Cork Short Story Festival and published in Ireland's Southword Journal. She holds a BA from Oberlin College, an MA from Rice University, and an MA in Creative Writing from Northwestern University, where she was honored with the Distinguished Thesis Award and a nomination for Best New American Voices. She had the pleasure of attending Kenyon Review Writers' Workshop in 2013 and an Artist's Residency at Ragdale Foundation in 2014. She has taught Creative Writing at DePaul University since 2003.