Three Hands, Two Holding Forks
(after a drawing by Vincent Van Gogh)
by Jean L. Kreiling

The hands reach, like that of Michelangelo’s Adam,
but for something earthly;
each generates the next, like those imagined by Escher,
but more obliquely;
the knuckles wrinkle darkly, like my grandfather’s,
but without his crisscrossing scars.

The forks hardly exist:
a few impatiently drawn lines
suggest just enough solidity
to provoke
curled fingers and bent wrists.

But no fork explains the third hand,
the one with the tightest grip
and the heaviest shadows;
it reaches
through generations
of darkness,
like my grandfather’s fist.