Logo, MacQueen's Quinterly
Listed at Duotrope
MacQueen’s Quinterly: Knock-your-socks-off Art and Literature
Issue 17: 29 Jan. 2023
Poem: 135 words
By Janet MacMillan Rives

How to Arrange a Child’s Hands

Mother placed my fingers 
on the Underwood’s home row 
index fingers on F and J. 
Hover your thumbs over the space bar 
she told me wrists raised, eyes up. 

Dad set the grip of a cut-down 
golf club onto my left palm 
placed my right hand on top. Hold it 
gently he said like a baby bird. 

Addie boosted me onto Babe’s saddle 
threaded the reins around my fingers. 
Make a fist she instructed press the thumbs 
straight down against the leather. 

Jamie, big sister, laced my fingers 
tips down index fingers and thumbs up. 
Here is the church, here is the steeple 
thumbs flew apart, hands flipped 
open the doors and see all the people. 

See all the people, their faces. 
Hear all the people, their voices. 


Snapshot of Janet and Jamie on Horseback, circa 1950
Janet and Jamie on Horseback (snapshot, circa 1950)

Copyright © held by Janet MacMillan Rives. All rights reserved.


—Poem and snapshot are from the author’s in-progress series of poems and memoir essays, Horsebarn Hill. See also her memoir essay Living in Our Kitchen here in Issue 17 of MacQ.

Janet MacMillan Rives
Issue 17 (29 January 2023)

was born and raised in Connecticut and currently lives in Tucson, Arizona where she moved after retiring from the University of Northern Iowa as a professor of economics. Her poems have appeared in such journals as Lyrical Iowa, Raw Art Review, The Ekphrastic Review, MacQueen’s Quinterly, Sandcutters, Crosswinds, Creosote, and Canary, as well as in a number of anthologies. Her first chapbook, Into This Sea of Green: Poems from the Prairie, was published in 2020 (Finishing Line Press). Her second chapbook, Washed by a Summer Rain: Poems from the Desert, is forthcoming in 2023 (Kelsay Books).

Copyright © 2019-2024 by MacQueen’s Quinterly and by those whose works appear here.
Logo and website designed and built by Clare MacQueen; copyrighted © 2019-2024.
⚡   Please report broken links to: MacQuinterly [at] gmail [dot] com   ⚡

At MacQ, we take your privacy seriously. We do not collect, sell, rent, or exchange your name and email address, or any other information about you, to third parties for marketing purposes. When you contact us, we will use your name and email address only in order to respond to your questions, comments, etc.