The Girl Without Hands – by LeeAnn Olivier

Open, love, open. The Keepers incant and ring
around my hospital bed, clamoring glam craft,
offering tiger’s eye, rose quartz. My nephew slips

a slim column of gypsum into my palm and reads
The Outsiders aloud, chanting the sacred Trinity:
Pony, Johnny, Cherry. In the space between sleeping

and waking, autumn ticks over to winter, a shiny dime
flipped tailside. These are the spells that bind.
On the news someone’s been loosening animals

from the Dallas zoo, leopards slinking through
the metro, monkeys crouched in a makeshift cage,
a lion prowling the side of I-35, leviathan,

his fallow cowl a wheat-field surging under
the Texas sun, honeyed as a vial of cadmium lemon,
my body tethered to a devil’s nest of tubes and wires.

I wait for my silver hands to grow like moon mirrors,
molding the whole of dreambeds in brain caves
from cobwebs and clay, mute words crowding

my mouth like minnows while the Keepers keep
watch. They speak for me when I’ve cut out
my tongue, and when I’ve lost my hands, they pray.


LeeAnn Olivier is the author of two chapbooks, Doom Loop Wonderland (The Hunger Press, 2021) and Spindle, My Spindle (Hermeneutic Chaos Press, 2016). A Louisiana native, Olivier teaches English at a college in Texas and lives with her partner Nathan and their three rescued pets. She is a survivor of domestic violence and breast cancer. Her poems in Rockvale Review focus on her recent experience approaching death and receiving an emergency liver transplant. She is very grateful to her donor and an incredible group of friends, colleagues, and family members who supported her during this ordeal.