Mudlark No. 48 (2012)

Trimming Leo’s Toenails

“I see you have a tremor,” he says and
splays his toes the best he can, the crescent 
clippers swaying in my hand, his nails thick
where a fungus yellows. My tremble gets 
at his quick—he flinches at the snick, snick.  
I can’t get the blades around such horny 
growth and the clippers wander away. Light 
pours through his tenth-story window, his 90-
plus years, and I see objets, from Florence 
down from a dusty shelf. And up above, 
the faded portrait of Miriam long since
gone, her wifely glow restored by his bright
admiring words as my daydreaming hand 
wavers, and stops, listening to what he hears.

John Allman | Vachel Lindsay and the Whales of California
Contents | Mudlark No. 48 (2012)