My Fingernails

by Tess Somervell

I’ve been biting my nails

For as long as I can recall.


For years they were slivers

Of white, on pink,

Tauntingly small.


My friends and parents

Would badger me,


In the nicest possible way,

Hoping secretly

For them to be long as the Yangtze.


Then one day, a few weeks back,



Everyone stopped noticing.

After fifteen years

My short nails were permissible.


And I stopped biting,

I noticed this afternoon.


I looked down as I wrote,

And the slivers were broadened,

Not the waning but the waxing moon.


When I started this poem,

They were almost to my fingertips.


Now my teeth have been at work,

And once again they are

Chips, slips, strips, a lunar eclipse.