“HANDS,” by Scot Siegel

May 19th, 2010 | By | Category: Nonfiction, Prose

Through Windex streaks in her bedroom alcove, I spy boys on skateboards careening, screeching axels off the coping of the curb below the house; boys hurling themselves, inverted, with spaghetti-like arms, macaroni torsos, profanities ripping the autumn air like a flock of hawk-chased crows drunk on ornamental plumbs…

Then something in the backwash of brown & yellow leaves transports me to another time when I’d fill my pockets with dimes & nickels from my father’s armoire, hop on my board & ride it like a shark down to the corner store where I’d come to a skidding halt & buy enough Candy & Coke to kill a horse…

One day I felt especially brave; David Waters had told me how to do it; it was Easy, he said:

Just wait for a flock of girls, & when they overtake the guy at the Slurpee machine, gently lean against the candy rack & slip something sweet down your pants!

On my first try he bolts for the door & leaves me there stranded with a Snickers sliding out my bellbottoms… I try kicking it under the condenser, but the manager sees me; he’s a big stupid-looking man with large hands; his wife has greasy hair & smells like marijuana…

They pull me into the back room––the one with humming fluorescents, cartons of Winstons, & stacks of freshly-minted Penthouses––and he blurts: Try it again, punk, I’ll call the cops; & then they’ll send you to Juvie!

When I turn the manager dissolves in a swirling tempest of leaves & candy wrappers & I am back in my daughter’s room; the window’s nearly clean & the boys have shoved off…

I look down & check my hands.


Scot Siegel lives in Oregon with his wife and daughters. He works as an urban planner. “HANDS” would be his first published piece of flash non-fiction. Siegel is also the author of three poetry books, Some Weather (Plain View Press, 2008), Untitled Country (Pudding House Publications, 2009), and Skeleton Says (forthcoming from Finishing Line Press). Poetry Northwest and the Oregon State Library selected Some Weather as one of Oregon’s 150 Outstanding Oregon Poetry Books. A second full-length collection is forthcoming from Salmon Poetry in 2012. Siegel serves on the board of trustees of the Friends of William Stafford and edits Untitled Country Review.

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