My nails are often inky or besmirched by dirt or paint.
Perfect rounded ovals are often what they ain’t.
You can always ascertain what project I’ve at hand,
be it cooking, painting or digging in the land,
simply by observing the shape my nails are in:
paint bespeckled, ringed with dirt, ragged, chipped and thin.
There’s usually no saving them. I use each as a tool.
When I trim the pergola or scrape mold from the pool,
my nails bear the brunt of it. They are no pretty sight.
There is no manicure on earth that could put them right.
So a month or two ago, imagine my surprise
when ten perfect white-edged nails appeared before my eyes.
I located the orange stick, the cuticles to shape.
I rounded off the tips of them and couldn’t help but gape
at hands equipped with fingernails for once all the same length!
I admit it. I admired them—their whiteness, shape and strength.
I decided I would polish them. The first time in a year.
First a coat of fleshy peach, and then a coat of clear.
Finally, all the nails except just one were done.
I saved it for the last because it was my favorite one.
It had the nicest shape of all, in fact it was the longest.
According to my reasoning, it was likely the strongest.
So imagine my displeasure. Try to feel my sense of loss
when I reached out for the nail polish and broke it clean across!
Cruel fate has ways of testing our will and sanity,
sometimes by means of toying with our silly vanity.