Lynne Kohen

She Keeps Her Fingernail Clippings

She keeps her fingernail clippings
in a shopping bag
hanging on a hook
by the bed.
Two decades of snipping
and collecting.
It’s comforting, she says,
how the crescents
curve round each other.
Sometimes she tips them out
on the kitchen table,
talks about her family,
how they all lived, crammed
in a council flat,
seven children and one mother,
the sharp edges of overcrowding.
That Sunday night ritual:
how she held their hands,
each child in turn,
bent her head to the fingers,
trimmed away the nails,
the grime of the week.
That tenderness.

More :
Simon Gennard | Harry Ricketts | Sue Wootton | Gregory O'Brien | Hannah Mettner | Vana Manasiadis | Eugenio Montale (translated by Jonathan Galassi) | Chris Tse | Jake Arthur | Louise Wrightson | Sugar Magnolia Wilson | Paula King | Jane Arthur | Ben Egerton | Sarah Webster | Nina Powles | Nick Ascroft | Vona Groarke | Adam Day | Amy Leigh Wicks | Lynn Jenner | Kerrin P. Sharpe