Five Fingers

The tiny bottle tumbles
between my left palm
and right elbow.
I roll it up my arm, back down again.

Seated on the ground works best.
Knees tucked into chest.
Taught myself
at twelve.

Tired of asking for half-off manicures
and having to explain why.
Just look.

Finally, they get it.
Only five fingers
Of course

Jam the bottle into my armpit,
turning sharply with my hand.
The skin burns.
when the cap crusts shut.

The bottle sits locked between my feet
Snug against my skin
I tuck the brush between my elbow and knee
A great balancing act

My finger moves, not the brush
Guiding the nail to the wet droplet
Three strokes against its cool bristles

Painted nails
Like so many daily tasks,
A fun party trick

Carolyn Friedman is a writer and gallery owner from Raleigh, North Carolina. Her work has also appeared in Adventum Magazine. When she isn’t writing, you can find Carolyn hiking with her crazy dog, Enzo.

You can see another poem in issue 4.3