When I bite my thumb
and work hard at
a slightly overgrown nail
to tear and rip it
from the
web of nerves
holding it against my hand,
I wince.

It hurts to have a habit
that you’re drawn to nibble
like a rabbit.

A careful tugging by the incisors
and mashing by the molars ensures
a sliver of nail comes
with a kick and a scream,
wrenching free blood vessels
from your veins.

In an instant, your fingers can
become a bloody mess,
a mark of torn flesh until
the nails grow back again.

Then you get idle.

Then you feel with your tongue
that the nail is too long again.

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