I have my mother’s hands: heavily lined, in proportion to my six-foot body, large enough to cup a basketball. The middle fingers angle out with a sharp bump, point away from my center. The palms are fleshy, pads of the thumbs like teardrops.

At the surgeon’s office, my arms look sleek beneath the white lights. He asks if he can touch me, rests his thumb against my inner wrist. Inside: a peanut, a tiny cyst.

I am young. I put my hands through countless stressors: glass doorknobs, narrow cups of tea, the wire end of a slippery earring. Yards of merino wool, alpaca, cotton slub, synthetic yarn. Steering wheels. Handlebars. Bread dough on the second rise. With one hand, I punch it down and knead.

The doctor finds hardness all over my upper body: thick trigger points along my shoulders, curled ropes in my neck. Have you been stressed? He asks.

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