She shows the class her robot arm
each time they ask. They like the science
of her old arm’s phantom—
how the doctors taught her nerves
to speak to the machine. She wants
the new wrist to turn, to face the hand
palm up, and the phantom turns it.

This arm is hers, but at the lab
they’re working on a better arm—its fingers touch
as if they feel. She watches herself move
in the mirror. She knows that woman
isn’t her. Still, she’s no one else.
One day, she’ll squeeze a paper cup
just enough to hold it.


(winner of the Editors’ Prize in Poetry for issue 20)