Nong ming shou. I fingered my dad’s hands in front of my belly. Farmers’ hands. He said they were thick, rigid, and clumsy from too much sunshine. I pinched the plasticky pad of each finger and watched them wave like wary antennae, tendrils of an anemone on my lap. They’re sausages, I laughed, they’re sausages, beautiful sausages, each and every one of them, they’re wrinkly and fat, and there’s a raw power in the clench of their knuckles. I love you, he said, tenderly taking the palms of my hands, stilling them, he stroked each finger between his index and thumb. Yours are slender, he told me, piano fingers, made for a finer life. Sculpted of a finer clay. These hands can do so much if you drive them, daughter. They can move mountains if you have that mustard-seed faith, daughter. They can touch those sinewy hearts of people, these fingers, they have their own power. I knew, I knew, I knew. Father, I should have believed you, I should have trusted my hands: Father, forgive me, I knew too little.
Isabella – 8/1/16