( )

We, too, feel uneasy alone; we believe we exist
to keep you safe and self-contained, at the cost

of making you seem, or feel, like you might not matter,
or not from the outside,

or not much.
We try to protect you. We have nothing to hide.

We can adjust
ourselves to look straighter, or flatter,

or more like sharpened claws, but we largely prefer
the state in which we resemble finger-

nails, or a French manicure,
reaching out with both our hands, your cure

for shapelessness, for your persist-
ent feeling that you will forever

remain immaterial, that you are better
off that way, that there is nothing or

nobody you are ready to let yourself touch.

Stephanie Burt