Thursday, June 1, 2017

My Other Hand

They tell me--I mean the throat clearers in their white coats--
that my extra hand is a blighted twin,
and that its presence on the right side of my back is not threatening.

The fools.
Hungering for love like anyone else, I gave in
to someone's touch. In mid-declaration, he found the hand
and jumped away as if electrocuted when he saw what he'd touched.

In church, wearing my customary black,
I pray, and in my prayer, I lie, giving thanks.
The horrid hand crosses itself at the moment of deceit,
and my skin crawls so badly that I nearly scream right there in the pew.

The worst part is that I can't really see it.
I twist painfully, my back to the mirror, but it curls away 
like some unholy creature avoiding teeth, or fire.
I curse it, sobbing with frustration, the hand mirror smashed.

At night, the hand traces letters against the skin of my back,
but the language makes no sense except to devils and Gypsies.
My mother brought the doctor, then the priest, upon finding me
blood-drenched and wheezing on the floor in the morning.

Who could blame me, for the knife?
Who could forecast that the thing would defend itself,
at cost of three fingers, one of them mine?

The same doctors performed surgery that afternoon,
pronounced the thing removed and benign,
but I know better, and carry the scars to prove it.
______

for my own Fireblossom Friday challenge at Real Toads: "It's Only A Paper Moon."

 

12 comments:

Kerry O'Connor said...

Gosh, Shay... I could ask where you get you ideas from.. but in all the years I've known you, your creativity has always floored me. Aside from making me believe in this malevolent hand, i also see the symbolism.. how we carry baggage in one form or another, difficult to exorcise and certain to leave a wound or scar.

Ω said...

This is awesome, Shay. I'm thinking of the expression "pat yourself on the back." The hand represents your ego, your pride in yourself, which no one can destroy. Not men, not your mother, not even other parts of you. Bravo, Shay. Brilliant work.

Ω said...

My favorite sections are the church stanza and these lines:

"I mean the throat clearers in their white coats"

"it curls away
like some unholy creature avoiding teeth, or fire"

"At night, the hand traces letters against the skin of my back,
but the language makes no sense except to devils and Gypsies."

Sherry Marr said...

Yes, you floor me too, as you can imagine things no one else on the planet can..............and no end to it, it seems. This is amazing. Really astounding.

Sanaa Rizvi said...

My goodness this is good!! Especially "Who could blame me, for the knife?
Who could forecast that the thing would defend itself, at cost of three fingers, one of them mine?" You left me breathless!

gillena cox said...

Ah yes, your creativity is beyond me. I'm awed with this piece. Luv the motif of being and self defending. Not many of is a real so true to self.

Much love...

Blogoratti said...

Beautifully written, and with a longing to go back and revisit each line. Well done and greetings.

De said...

Holy cow. This is amazing.

sreeja harikrishnan said...

Totally unique and amazing...that hand is so dark...!

blueoran said...

I thought of Geryon from Ann Carson's "Autobiography of Red" -- a gay, immortal angel who hides his wings (he makes the comment along that way that some of his kind cut off their tails to prevent scaring their parents). Anyway, we can't help but channel dark voices who are deeply inside our own. There's always a cost to toothy sooth. Great challenge FB, and enjoy the new adventure.

hedgewitch said...

On a clear early morning, this allegory brings a chill--I echo Kerry--your perspective always takes the road least traveled straight into the heartland of the mind and leaves us gawking at the roadside attractions; in this case, hoping we can find a safe motel before the fuel gives out and we are stranded...our secret shames, our hidden truths, squirming away from the eye, impossible to fully see--difficult to cut away indeed, and never without a scar. Fine, fine writing Shay, full of a dark mischief as well as that unflinching mirror showing all we try so desperately to rise above, and the differences society can't abide.

brudberg said...

Your nightmarish image of that ghastly hand has some resemblance to Kafka's Metamorphosis... and I cannot keep wondering how you got that idea. I swear I will will wake tonight with that hand scratching at my back (with its three remaining fingers)