The Change

I never had powerful hands. My fingers were fragile

as paper fans, thinner than pencils and less mighty.

Dainty hands, grip no good for sports, tensile strength

too weak for climbing. Do you know I never caught a ball

that was thrown to me? Not even with warning?

Hands like slippery fish, I thought the day it happened.

I was poking at a cuticle, pulling a hangnail with my teeth until it bled.

The blood, maybe, caused it.

Thumb first, then pointer, middle, pinky, ring. The nails grew

thick and yellow, wrapped the skin on three sides.

Long, like my grandma wanted. She hated me being

a chewer and painted on poison like polish.

I bred two new inches that narrowed to points,

shark teeth at the end of each digit, serrated

on every side. When they turned from yellow to black,

the word occurred. Claws.

They might have dressed a bear or dripped from the foot

of an eagle. But they originated from me, hooked,

merciless. Begging to be used.