On fingernails

Get you, drumming on the table, hustling for attention. Are you proud to be growing still? Does it give you status to stand tall? Do you think people will suspect you have not been involved in domestic chores?

Think again, my pretties. The longer you get, the closer to tools you become. The more likely you have been digging and picking and scratching away at lottery ticket dreams. Liberating dried nasal mucus from the noses of infants, delving into oracular crevices, working your pokey little way around the roots of teeth.

You look feisty now but is it so long ago you were bitten and wretched? Splitting with a shriek when met with the slightest competition. Having one of your funny turns after just one lousy drink. Feeling weak and bendy and needing to be put out of your misery.

In my nightmares you are being torn from me; screeching down a blackboard; drawing blood across skin. Now I wake, you want to be adorned.

You- the horny plate of thickened and condensed epithelial stratum lucidum that grows out from a vascular matrix of cutis and sheathes the upper surface of the end of each of my fingers.

Let’s see, would you like me to lacquer you, the better to beckon my next paying client? Would you like falsies, with which to fiddle a footballer? Or did you want to express yourselves with the Mona Lisa or an earring?

Maybe you want a French manicure to celebrate your triumphant idleness. Will you want to include your stubby, little, sock-bound cousins in the ritual? Why, for the love of God, would they want to advertise their protrusion? What circumvented daily chore should they be congratulated on, exactly?

When- my little pork scratchings- you are no longer happy to grow on the dead, to curl on the thumbs of hirsute guitarists, to hide in the carpet like forensic refugees…

When you just want to spend lazy afternoons, running lightly down backs and crafting daisy chains in sunny meadows, then we’ll talk.

But for now, off with your heads!


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