Ones in the palm
feel, at first, like bruises.
Ones in the fingers
more like cat scratches.

Metal shavings sting.
Glass shards burn sideways
as they penetrate the skin.
Wood splitting is common

where pressure is correctly
applied. The smooth surface,
as a grooved hand slides over
its edges, suddenly cuts a tooth—

A spider sometimes leaves
a part of its bite
buried inside the skin.
A needle christened with fire

will open up most,
but tweezers are needed
to pluck the sour wires.
The hands of another

always hurt worse than your own.


Victor Streeby

"On Splinters" discusses the physical and philosophical ramifications of working with one's hands. It's interesting when materials foreign to the human body enter it and must be removed by inventive methods. It also comments on the fact that this often means having a family member assist in the process of removal.