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Nail P

Derived from claws we suppose
On an earlier version of us.
Why “nails”?

Twenty little pieces of an exoskeleton
Unfinished.
But informative.

Too white? Cirrhosis of the liver.
White bands?  Arsenic poisoning.
Misshapen? Iron-deficiency.
Turning bluish around the cuticles?
Oxygen starvation.

What of these?

 

Yellow, pitted and peaked
Afloat a tissue bed gone crazy.
Sign of a life broiling?
An anguished maelstrom of ailments?
A curse of over-typing
Over needle-working
A lifetime of nail biting?

The matrix part (the
Magic root behind
Beneath the cuticle)
Must be on fire. 

A poncho of skin reveals:

Underlying inFLAM[E]ation
The scale (a type of ash?)
And had we bug’s eyes
We’d see a smoke of sorts.

I can understand that
Certain reluctance to shake
This hand.

That psoriasis must sear.

An awful thing to be
Touched by.

But awfuller yet
To touch with.

-Ed Dewke

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