As sure as back streets caked in snow

melt and go,

so the stapled cardboard box locks,

as too the  thumbs push further in

a thumbnail clicks.

Remember the time your thumbnail clicked

as cardboard panels stood their ground


the time you had that panic attack

nail bent back

just think: thumbnail bent right back. Snap!

It left a curved white line across

a keratin shell over soft blood and skin

bent, for an instant at ninety degrees


Look at the curve of that thumbnail. Ghastly pale,

the blood’s drained from your face. Racing

pulse of panicky sickness

nail bent in the middle - ninety degrees.  Concave

and open like a cup

why not bent back from the cuticle up


Actually no, that might even go through me.

Hanging off droopy,

the nail hinged at one end.  Bending

in the middle’s not quite as bad,

except the sickening click

as the curved nail bends double and back


And so, I leave you with such thoughts

on opening a cardboard box

and opening a finger nail

Merry Christmas one and all.


◄ This is a sestina comma discuss

No way out ►


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Tue 22nd Dec 2009 21:50

I've still not worked out whether ripping the whole nail off is better than ripping half of it off. Becomes a particularly grey area when it rips in half lengthways.

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Cynthia Buell Thomas

Tue 22nd Dec 2009 16:38

Because it is so universal, and you make the whole experience so painfully real. My own large cardboard box ripped off the whole nail of my big toe....and I screeched.

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Mon 21st Dec 2009 23:54

I'm not sure what it is, but people seem to react on a primal level more to this one than to anything else I've ever written.

<Deleted User> (7164)

Sun 20th Dec 2009 21:38


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Sun 20th Dec 2009 18:46

You're back! LOL

I couldn't visualise most of this... as such thoughts were causing me physical pain!

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