the hand

Julie Fitzpatrick

there was a time in his mania when my brother refused to go outside
when he said to a therapist who said to my parents who said to each other
through the wall that divided our rooms – the wall
that amazed me perplexed me drew me to it – the wall
that through nightly I heard a tone in mom’s voice
that was absent in the day
a tone so soft it melted my belly knots
and made my shoulders drop
a tone tinted with a light laugh
surprising with its rolling runs
there was an occasional coo too 
so smooth I couldn’t place the one who cooed – 
through that wall 
I could make out certain phrases
certain goings-on
certain hells that were happening in the house
and hidden in the day
this I caught though
that he thought a huge hand was coming out of the sky to-
I couldn’t hear the rest
I asked my own fingers silhouetted in the sight of the night light
coming out of the sky to-
grab him? squeeze him? smother him? slay him?
will the hand slay him I thought? staring at the sky in the morning
was it jesus’ hand? the devil’s? was it rough raging raving?
i couldn’t stop staring at the sky
be careful of what you catch, overhear through the wall
and then
in your head
it can be so difficult to

Julie Fitzpatrick is a writer and actress who finds clarity on the page. She wrote and performed her solo show 77 U-Turn this summer at Legacy Theatre, was published by Poets’ Choice and Allegory Ridge, won a Writer’s Digest Honorable Mention for her poem – kite – and an Artist Award grant for her spoken word piece All the World’s a Stage: A Guilford Pandemic Love Story. Julie is a member of the Guilford Poets Guild, The Legacy Theatre Playwrights Circle, and Ensemble Studio Theatre in NYC. She lives with her husband and son in CT – more information about her creative journey can be found at

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