FIELD NOTES FOR THE MAGICIAN: SLEIGHT OF HAND by Rosemary Kitchen

Rosemary Kitchen
FIELD NOTES FOR THE MAGICIAN: SLEIGHT OF HAND

I.

Mother teaches me
to read the ages of bald women hooked to IV stands
in cracked knuckles, the prominence of veins in fingers and wrists.
We whisper, like the palmists
of the Memorial Oncology Ward

II.

FIELD NOTES FOR THE MAGICIAN: SLEIGHT OF HAND by Rosemary Kitchen - 2
Mother’s gurney vanishes
between swinging doors,
and Father practices the trick
of folding down ring
and middle fingers,
of straightening pinky, extending
thumb, cupping the symbol
for love in a trembling hand.

The Magician might call this
the Palm Proper—letting
two fingers press into root
of thumb to form a bridge
at the hollow of the hand
where anything small enough
can hide

III.

After the diagnosis, we listen
to the tick of a wristwatch
covering its face with both hands.
On a sundial, the titanic body
of our nearest star
can be transfigured
into a hand made of shadows.

IV.

FIELD NOTES FOR THE MAGICIAN: SLEIGHT OF HAND by Rosemary Kitchen - 3
In a difficult manipulation,
the Magician’s hands
exchange a silver coin for
copper—small maneuvers of
fingers masked by larger
hand movements.

The surgeon’s hands exchange sharpie for
scalpel, marking all the
places
where it hurts, and
turning them over, like
the Magician asking Was
this your coin?
and the
coin always reappearing

wherever it vanishes.


Rosemary Kitchen is a recent graduate of the University of Tennessee PhD program in English. She currently lives with her husband and stepdaughters in Knoxville, TN where she is pursuing an MS in Mental Health Counseling, as well as polishing her first manuscript, Field Notes for the Magician. Her poems have been published in journals such as Cimarron Review, Gulf Coast, and Tinderbox.

Cover photo by ZSun Fu on Unsplash

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