It isn’t rust that causes tetanus,
you said, but outside conditions offer a fertile habitat
for the bacteria to thrive on any nail, rusty or not.
But before it could hardly matter,
the weathered nail had already slipped through our soles—
oxidized arrows from Cupid’s sheave—
puncturing worn socks and
ejaculating its delivery into the wound, making a slurping sound on exit.
Thick lines intersect the scar like the nomenclature of buried pirate treasure.
Dig it out, rip it open, peel the veins bubbling backwards
and we would uncover a red pulse flexing fervently with devotion.
We thought it wouldn’t hurt as long as we didn’t fall,
but the immediate pain was hardly a consolation.
Our blood was black and blue, already eroding to the color of rust.
The nursed asked,
had we been vaccinated
and that we ought to be more careful.
We told her we would,
but we could already feel the lockjaw.