By Ava Casab (23′)

“There are so many things that could go wrong!” 

she exclaims. 

Her hands are a fidgeting mess, 

moving like a well-oiled machine as the muscles squeeze and contract 

around padded bones

in a timely, repetitive manner. 

They move tirelessly, 

as if even a mere second of stillness 

or silence 

will throw everything into chaos. 

Her fingers eventually find themselves in a rhythmic 

tap tap tap 

against the wooden table in front of her, 

an insistent, predictable sound that quickly fades into the background. 

They stop only to intertwine with her other hand, 

weaving together in a scriptless dance of turns and touches, 

trapped in a cycle of movement that is so natural to them 

that they couldn’t stop even if she willed them to.

They twist and rub against each other in a cycle 

that she is powerless to stop. 

Her fingernails dig in to the soft skin of her palm, 

muscles moving with a mind of their own

leaving small yet angry curved marks 

that will soon fade into memory.

Her hands move with no regard for anything else,

but she’s used to it.

They have always done this-

it is simply a habit at this point. 

The woman in front of her-

Mom, she corrects herself-

smiles warmly. 

There is no hint of malice in the curve of her lips,

in the tiny glimpses of not-quite-white teeth poking out from under them.

It is filled with comfort and joy, 

happiness and love, 

life and promise. 

It holds great regret

and fiery hope

at the same time. 


the girls hands begin to still, 

bit by bit ceasing their choreography

and settling down. 

Her mom places her hands on top of the girls’,

spreading out her fingers

moving them to sit gently in the girls lap

before looking her right in the eye.

Emerald-green irises stare into warm brown ones, 

a silent story of trial and tribulation unfolding in their gaze.

Harsh, but also soft, 

they are there to be seen, 

not hidden. 

A sigh from the elder’s lips, 

and then…


my dear,

but it seems you have forgotten

about all the things that could go right.”

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