I slid the glass door of the pastry case
closed the same way I always do
but I don’t usually leave one finger sticking inside

and when I slammed it shut
the sharp sting surprised me
I tried to punch the countertop to vent the frustration
but it was hardly satisfying since I
couldn’t punch with the already-injured half of
my hand

after settling down for a moment
and while the pain grew in sharpness
signalling the un-stunning of nerve endings
I examined the tip of my finger for damage
and could see a bruise forming
underneath an already misshapen fingernail

I remembered being a child
stepping out of my grandfather’s cream-colored Cadillac
that we used because we had no car
and he was old
the door on that boat of a car was bigger, heavier then I was
so maybe I was using two hands to close it

before I knew what happened I saw
the blood running down my hand
dripping on the street

Mom sat me in the car with Kleenex
and went inside to get by brother

we had to change the evening schedule
to include a trip to the hospital fifteen miles away

between fluorescent lights and stainless steel,
the doc who had burned warts off my hand
cleaned up my cracked and bloody fingernail

the whole nail fell of within a week, of course
and hasn’t grown back exactly right since
but I didn’t get any change when I put that fingernail under my pillow

I haven’t been a patient in a hospital since,
not a stitch, no broken bone

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