We’ve seen some version of the nail
curled over, the head angled at 90 degrees
or parallel to its body, just above
the penetration point. Three years ago
a tornado powered a single straw stem
through the oak’s bark and into its trunk,
illustrating the Old English beonet, for
“stiff grass,” and sadly conjuring the image
of a blade affixed to a firearm’s muzzle, the
etymology of which lies elsewhere, in Gascony.
And when we consider mental inclination,
signifying deflected, turned, or not straight,
we might also include an earlier past participle
meaning “directed in course.” But even the
tree’s armor could not deter the twister’s
wrath, and the hammer, no matter my aim
or purpose, seems intent upon glancing off
the nail, twisting it, leaving us, again, bent.
“Bent” first appeared in the print publication Ristau: A Journal of Being in January 2018.