The Smallest Man by Julie Brooks Barbour
creeps across the lines in my palm. He erects a house
with a tree in the front yard and a dog running the length
of the lawn. Yesterday he fashioned a weapon
from sharpened sticks and twine to protect what he owns,
though I hold no one else and there’s no room for expansion.
Once I thought an itchy palm foretold a windfall
but now it’s him mowing the lawn or taking the dog for a walk.
Sometimes I whisper secrets and he thinks it’s the wind
and zips his jacket, tucks his head down. Friends ask to see
my hand and wonder at the world I’ve created, but it’s really
what someone else created when I relinquished control.