photograph by Kathleen Shattuck
The hand reaches out; fingertips touch the uneven plaster on the wall beside the bed; the moon seeps through the curtained glass, casting ominous gloom upon this hand. Stare at this hand, it belongs to a stranger.
Who is this stranger that lives in this room tonight?
The shadow of the moon feels cold against the warmth of this hand. Does this hand belong to this arm that holds it upright, straight, and away, flat against the undulating prickle of sharp edges on the wall?
The hand turns, slowly, palm facing towards this stranger, fingers curling, nails biting into the palm, which seems to be saying, do not touch me - then stretches out until each tip extends and spreads from inside, into a breadth of vulnerability it opens the width of the fingers; opens, opens wide, wider it stretches until pain sears into the sinewy muscle, as sharp teeth may gnaw into a bone.
Come, soon, look at this hand; watch as it beckons, watch as it moves, before it moves toward the cold shadow of the moon.