©2019 by Canvas Literary Journal

Published by Cosmographia Books

Background art “Camouflage” by Hyung Jin Lee

Canvas logo by Ali Wrona

Magic Hands

Nicole Li

Autumn 2019

back then, there existed
                                the strangest things.

                                                                (like a


                                contest where the

     winner really

got nothing at

all except



                 I don’t know
                                what made me try so hard—

                                                 perhaps the warm, wrinkled


                                                                                       on mine

                                                                         as they looped

                                                         in and out,

                                       over and under,

                       smooth and well-oiled

  as the subway


             under our apartment.
                            soon, there would be a

                                       perfect bow where

                                                      previously existed

                                                                       only a heap of

                                                       dirty fiber.

                                     when I did

                        it myself,

                                        the ropes became

                                                        unwieldy snakes,

                                                                        slippery and

                                                    sly as soap

                                                                    in too-

wet hands.

                                                                    I decided this

                                                    was the only magic

                                    I needed, the

                      type of Cinderella



hear about

on TV.

                                                                        And my

                                        a fairy Godmother

                         with magic hands

instead of wand.

Nicole Li is a rising high school senior at Shanghai American School in Shanghai, China. Her writing has been recognized by the National Scholastic Art & Writing Awards and the New York Times, and can be found in the Eunoia Review and Polyphony Lit, among others. She enjoys making lists, discovering new podcasts, and petting other people's cats. She hopes magic finds you today.