They’d always out in the end
– or so it was claimed – of their own accord.
Then why did he vividly recall
gouging at the wrinkled pad of his index
with a brutal pin picked from the sewing-box?

Strange how the years go by
how less and less the need arises
to plough flesh after some buried speck.
Always black as a thorn whatever the source.
Driving a fork through clay,
he’d hook it finally with a braced pin


it would spring loose.
Confess itself. Cleansed,
he’d return both hands to the given task.

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