scrap of wood
I am a lazy scrap of wood forgotten in a corner. My life is an endless stream of sun down, moon up monotony where my only entertainment derives from a daily coating of dust or a stray hair from a black lab blown into one of my cracks. In my hay day I used to be important. During house renovation I was recycled from a window frame and used as a doorstop. I brought in fresh summer air to help the paint dry, and to flush out varnish fumes. Those days are no more. Sometimes I wish someone would chuck me in the backyard fire pit, along with unwanted bills and old check card receipts. End it once and for all, I say. And sometimes I dream that the best part of me would break off and be useful in the world again.
The lady of the house just walked in and is reaching for the TV cord. Leonardo DiCaprio was on Oprah the other day, informing the public that TV’s, stereos and other appliances waste energy when plugged in, even when turned off. She has unplugged all electronics ever since. My hopes no longer rise when she reaches past me for the cord. I’m usele-
Ow, what the hell? I can’t believe it! My prayers have been answered! I’ve broken free. Look at me, a handsome, important sliver, deeply embedded under a human nail. I’m pulsating with life and causing searing pain. I am someone! No, don’t squeeze me out, leave me in there. That’s right, you can’t get rid of me. I’m tough, I’m in there for good and you’ll never get me out. It’s me you’ll think of when your middle finger is throbbing in the small hours of the morning, waking you from that sexy dream about the roofers next door. It’s me that makes you pad through the dark in bare feet on cold tile to pop pain medication. When you wash dishes or open a can of fruit or change a diaper and jab that sore finger wrong, you’ll curse me. You will hit your head against the wall trying home remedies and kitchen surgery. Salt-water soak? Nope! Heated safety pin to scrape me out? Nuh, uh, the skin underneath is too stiff with infection. Cut and peel back the nail with an unskilled left hand? Don’t even think about it. I’m here for good, or at least until I disintegrate into your body and when I do, a piece of me will become a piece of you.