For Tessa

“Excuse me sir,” I say to the hand,
“That is not yours.”
I am always polite, always
Placid, tepid—lukewarm like bathwater.
A well-mannered sheep, kept safe.
The hand does not withdraw.

“Excuse me sir, I would like my leg back.”
I can feel the hand’s heat
Melting with mine.
Heat means sweat.
Sweat is sticky.
Sticky means a mess; a mess means a bath.
I am tepid—always polite.
The hand flexes.
The hand does not withdraw.
The hand is smooth; its nails trimmed
I always try to cut mine in rounds. Moons.
Mine end up square.

“Excuse me sir—I am taking my leave.”
I stand up.
I am always polite, a well-mannered sheep.
Sheep are kept safe by their shepherd.
The hand raises, watching me go
Tilting side to side.

“Your leave was never mine, dear. Take it as you please.”

Tonight, after my bath
I clip my fingernails into moons—round.