Hiroshima Day at the Riviera Coffeeshop
No counterman expects stumps
colored yellow sunrise
to slide across the formica counter
aimed at him like guns. Watch him try
to hand the woman hot coffee:
stir the air where the hands should be.
Her wrists nudge his fingers.
the tips of long, pink nails
caressing a lover, abstract
the choice to punch back when attacked.
She waits at the counter
for the mug to cool; her stumps
are the sensitive palms
of her hands. You can read them.
she put up her hands to cover her face
as she was blown off tiptoe
by the sun she thought she saw
out the classroom window
her first Hiroshima Day.
"My hands are bags of water,"
she thinks. "Water. Teacher,
take me to the river"
to soothe her hands that burst
and the skin hung, rags
flapping at her wrists.
Peripheral nerves come back.
Perhaps at home she drinks hot coffee,
fingerless hot mitts protecting her stumps.
Perhaps she straps on the big metal hands,
bigger than the childs hands doled out to her
after the surrender. She can do
anything with her teleologic beauties:
on the table next to the bed,
the large, austere hooks.
she can turn the pages
of books, lift a hot cup
to her lips, masturbate
with metal forefingers and thumbs
spread by a strap system
passing over her back, worked
by the hunching of her shoulders.
Notice: the woman knows how
to tremble, not the hands.