The Manicures: Stilettos by Valerie Loveland

I went into training for this. It is called monster training. It is called how to type with claws. How to get your husband to accept you are becoming a werewolf.

Each of my stiletto nails writes advice articles for womens’ magazines but all the pitches got rejected for not matching the tone of human magazines, and also for being too feminist. They couldn’t be paid because fingernails can’t open bank accounts.

I’ll give you a preview of some of the magazine article titles: Yes you can do everything with claws! You can do that with stilettos. You can do everything better with talons. Do not listen to your viola teacher: You can still play with nails.

Do not listen to your winter gloves; we will rip right through them. A monster hand never gets cold because we are magnets. We turn one way and attract and then turn the other way and repel.

They told me I could take out my contacts, and I could.
They told my vagina: we won’t hurt unless you want us to.

I thought I felt trapped in my nails, I tried to make them disappear with acetone as if they were slugs and I could just pour salt, but it only made them angry. I clipped them blunt but they made me pay to put them back on and even made me buy them nail art.

They said, “Don’t blame us, you already had just as many typos.”

They said, “We don’t belong to you, we belong to your hand.”

Valerie Loveland is a poet and programmer living in Philadelphia. She is working on a manuscript of Unsolved Mysteries poems.