The Painted Hand
by Jimmy Chen
An open palm in the sky at high noon is also its shadow on the ground. A man with a hose is watering the lawn. A weekend is a delusion that there is still life to be lived. A sun that lets us see cannot be seen. Daddy make a rainbow, the daughter says. Father who am I, she will ask forty years later.
In forty years this man who is watering his lawn will not know what room he is in. He will see a face, its muscles contracting into slippery puddles of expression. Father who am I, she asks. Do you recognize me? I am Lisa, your daughter. His memory, uncoiled by a stroke, are torn ribbons in the wind outside. He sees a lost diagram of branches outside the window.
A man with a hose aims it upwards, tightening the nozzle into a fine mist. The daughter runs through the falling spray, waving her small arms and screaming in delight. She can see the faint outline of the color spectrum, and dashes through it hoping it will color her body. Ultraviolet, the invisible race.
Between the sun and a shadow of a plane is that plane. Lisa sits in the window seat looking down at the little cars moving so slow, so sure that all the roads will somehow connect. She tries not to think about all the missed emails at work. The ascending plane's shadow recedes towards its center, getting blurrier at the edges like the town itself.
There is an answer for everything: the trees that grow upwards to meet the rain; a child's hand at the end of an arm; a loyal sun that somehow always wakes before the world; a tongue that blocks the answer within. You are my daughter, I made a rainbow for you.
About the author:
Jimmy Chen's fiction is forthcoming in Dzanc Best of the Web 2009, Pax Americana, and Abjective. He lives in California.