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Nail-Paring Moon

By John I. Blair

The nail-paring moon
grinned high this morning . . .
Flamingo contrails,
sun-tinted, streaming . . .
Freely drawn,
ornamental dawn!
(student poem, University of Kansas, 1963)

The nail-paring moon grinned high once more this morning,
And if there had been contrails, tinted by the sun,
I might have likened them to pink flamingos
As once I did in Kansas
When first I turned my hand to poetry.
So smug I felt, at play with metaphor,
Not knowing that, ten years from then,
A friend would turn my “contrails” into “entrails”
And make flamingo entrails stream across the sky!

I went on to pursue a host
Of other mangled metaphors
And caught a few;
But now that innocence is gone
As is my friend.
These days flamingo contrails and nail-paring moons
Don’t sound so bad to me
And I wish that I could laugh at them again
With him.

©2002 John I. Blair

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