• Vol. 04
  • Chapter 05


On the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel
the most famous hand in the world
has just given life to Man.
In the intervening space between
God's hand and Adam's
there is the shadow of another hand—
a hand that neither creates nor commands,
neither praises nor obeys.
You can't see it in the picture;
it must have been painted over
to conceal the other option,
but modern technology has evolved to such a point
that the third hand is a distinct possibility—
albeit only the shadow of a hand.
You have to fill in the blank, as it were, yourself;
not so much like Whitman, who thought he knew
"that the hand of God is the promise of my own",
but more like Anonymous,
that great self-effacing creator of the ten thousand things.
You'll never see it clenched in a fist,
squeezing somebody's throat or caught in the cookie jar.
It knows when to hold and when to let go;
when to cherish and when to discipline.
Its milieu is the emptiness between alternatives;
but if that thought is too depressing,
one can always take refuge
in Art Appreciation.