from Wizard
© Dominic Berry

Ingrowing nails.
Sat behind the supermarket till,
chewing gnarled fingers.
Customers tut, “Tsk! Tsk!”
One day, stopped painting them.
Realised she’d got more nail in her than out.
An inside out pin cushion.
Spiky Medusa chewing.

One day, woke up with ingrowing hair.
Screaming, hissing migraines. Head full of cobras.
Felt like an atlas had cracked in her skull.
Felt like she’d swallowed the weather.
Got two months away from the shop
then Doctor said she was better.
Confided her eyes still twisted of serpents,
but Doctor said she was better.

He said she must smile.
Take the bandages offered for her internal bleeding.
Counterfeit concern.
The minimum rest keeps her stressed
python-knotted shoulders taut, chest crushed tight.

She wishes she could turn more than his heart to stone.

Lumps of fear, chunks of doubt
feed the snakes she can’t carve out.