Tongue fidgets against fingertip,
teeth graze the nail you ripped
while unwrapping the cake you released from the freezer.
You have to wait to eat the cake.
Meanwhile, you’ll fix the jagged nail the easy way.
Your teeth grip it, tear it free.
You spit out the shard
which lands on the knee of your jeans.
You pick it up,
examine this brittle bit of you;
this dead clipping,
my mother made this;
if not for my mother, I would not be.
Yet you flick it away like dross;
this slim grating born of the ecstasy of creation;
this small sliver, this souvenir foreshadowed
by squeeze and grunt of delivery.
The word ‘size’ reminds you
of the sight from the porthole of a giant
winged crate high in the sky,
where cloud concealed whole countries below,
yet cleared to reveal
a bland mass of distant desert.
Long before you stepped
from the plane in Mumba, you were stunned
by the expanse of the globe.
Unmeasurable grains of sand,
deepest seas where strange creatures swim and fight,
minerals, mountains and clamouring cities,
trees, fleas, bees and diverse mysteries
of all sizes. Millions of years,
millions of designs of dry cement and wet sentience
surfacing, existing, sliding into history,
civilizations replaced, to be swept away
by atmosphere, madness and accident.
Fresh animal passions, plans,
every mutation of emergency, miracle and mistake
circuitously played out
on each square mile
of this seething planet.
While you muse,
your teeth absently chew your skin.
Sensing a metallic tang, you check your fingertip.
Blood pools near the cuticle.
but you cannot
locate the pain.
Word of the Day Challenge: Emergency
©Jane Paterson Basil