The first nail flies off like a seed,
a dark germ inside,
and plants itself in the sleeping grass.
Come May, a full-grown toe,
luscious and greening,
lures grackles to the cottonwood.
The second is a fractured nursery rhyme,
a plump little piggy going to market,
disfigured by a fungus.
Even the wolf crosses the street
to avoid him.
About the third
the less said the better —
a disappointment to his family.
Disney wrote the fourth,
a scimitar from the Arabian Nights,
sharp as the thing
that sets it free.
proud and fat.
A lawyer raised number six.
she argued a case
before the Supremes
regarding the rights of toes.
Seven was a sly serial toe murderer,
the cutest of the bunch.
Motel owners remembered him
signing the check.
Eight ate leather,
loved one hundred and fifty dollar
Nein, the philosopher,
famously said, “After all,
what is a toenail?”
The tenth nail,
from the big right toe,
a cruel flagship,
shoots a sliver across the lake,
the ice just off,
the geese lazy on rails
like amusement park rides.
Remember the girl who dragged herself
from the sea (who can forget her),
where the old god’s sperm roiled the water?
They say the lunatic seers of Babylon
warned us about her sister:
the second apocalypse of love.