Meaning the edge of a nail
burrowing into the depths
of flesh around the toe.
Meaning you need another
instrument besides
a nail clipper to dig out
the offending bit of matter,
or else the least bit of
pressure from the side
of a shoe sends flames
shooting up your leg.
Meaning the time
your father takes you,
not yet woman but no
longer child, to his doctor
friend who isn't even
a podiatrist; and after
he injects a local anesthetic
the two of them stand
at one end of the examining
table, laughing and
exchanging notes
on last night's basketball
game; and then he tugs
at the corner of your nail
and clips a hard nub
of something, packs
gauze and bandage around
it. They walk to the door,
leaving you to get up
and hobble into
your sandals.

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