Tuesday, April 26, 2011



Human have fingernails. This means
that those of us with claws survived,
and the clawless others faded out.

We used our claws. To cut with,
to carve, to puncture. Blades
were inspired by the sharpness

at the edge of each finger and toe.
Claws on our toes helped us to stand
when the ground shook or softened.

Those whose claws kept growing
outlived those whose claws did not
grow back, once damaged or taken.

We locate our angst in them, and so
we pick at them and file them and gnaw
at them. Scour them to smooth them out

and paint them red or glue artificial nails
over the real, ragged ones, resurfacing
this proof of our continual creaturedom.


  1. Made me think! Then I loved the contrast with the image.

  2. This is fascinating...I always check my cats claws. : )


  3. Two days - two anthology worthy poems that start with the letter C (not that that crap matters).

    The twist in the first is the way all metaphors come down like a curtain. Here it is the way it gets disguised. In both cases, almost nothing is too much. I love that.

  4. I see you're inspired by a Strassheim image. Her "Evidence" is amazing.

    Another excellent poem, Hannah.

  5. What a sensual image, and such an active poem.

    There's a cat in my neighborhood (she lives in a vintage store) who has hot pink "caps" on her claws so she won't claw at the mid century furniture. The contrast of those vibrant pink nails peeking out, then retracting back into her charcoal grey paws makes her appear almost human.

  6. I hate my finger nails! I keep them short.

  7. I think this poem exemplifies the thing I love most about your blog. I love seeing how you interpret images in completely unexpected ways. This is a gorgeous image. And this poem is wonderful. Yet I was caught off guard when I clicked through to the image after reading the poem. Not what I expected, or how I might have translated that image into words, and yet perfectly paired.


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