Sky Nails

That first day, to break me in,
my hardened comrades
sent me scampering like a marmoset
from the topmost parapet
to the foreman’s hut
for a bag of sky nails.
The foreman wondered which precise
shade of blue I had in mind.
It’s still sky nails I need today
with their faint threads
and unbreakable heads
that will nail anything
to nothing
and make it stay.

first published in The Kiosk on the Brink (OUP, 1993), © Jamie McKendrick 1993, from Sky Nails, Poems 1979-1997 (Faber, 2000), used by permission of the author

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