Author : Jay Knioum, Featured Writer

I’m wearing your hand from my neck.

I spent a week drying it out, preserving it, taking care that the tattoo was still visible. Once I was convinced that it didn’t stink, I threaded the zip-tie through the wrist, hung it over my head and tucked it inside my jacket. Good thing, because I don’t think this group I hooked up with would understand. Some of them still have their husbands, wives, kids, moms or dads out there. They still hope. They can still look at the moon and think to themselves, maybe you’re looking at the same moon right now. They can stay warm with that thought as they drift off to sleep.

All I know is, if you’re looking at the moon, you aren’t thinking a damn thing. Not even of me.

I take it out now and then, when it’s my turn on watch. Everyone else is asleep, or trying to be. I take out your hand and look at that tattoo. I did it for you, while I was learning the trade. It looks like shit, but you loved it.

WANT. You had me tattoo that on your left hand, in that spidery writing that I used to use back then.

Somewhere, you’re out there. Maybe you’re dead. Maybe you’re shuffling around under this same moonlight. On the hand you’ve got left, I’d written IGNORANCE into your skin. Same spidery letters. It looked like shit, but you always kissed me and told me it was better than any ring.

Eventually, I put your hand away and someone relieves me. So it goes. Dark, sunrise, sunset, dark. Moonlight.

Sometimes I think I feel your hand move, feel it cup my boob like you’d do sometimes. I’d remember those mornings when you’d be making breakfast, but I wanted something else.

But it’s just a dead thing. Somewhere out there, you’re a dead thing. This hand around my neck is a dead thing. I fall asleep hoping that I’ll find you crushed under a car somewhere, or against all odds, with your stump in a sling, surrounded by people like the people that surround me.

That’s when I remember how I found your hand. It hadn’t been cut off. Hadn’t been torn off. It had been bitten off. Anyone who gets bit, they turn. I’ve seen it. I know that’s what happened to you.

That’s when my hope turns to ash, but it’s still there. I hope, someday, we’ll see each other again. I’ll see your stump, and I’ll see IGNORANCE on your other hand.

Then I can finish this. We can both rest then.

Til death do us part.

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