Apologies to Shakespeare and Dr. Seuss

A Case of Nerves at the Armadillo Hair and Nail Salon


Photo: Nine-banded armadillo, by http://www.birdphotos.com, 2008. From Wikimedia Commons.


A Case of Nerves at the Armadillo Hair and Nail Salon

Stay out of the way, it’s opening day
We have some big work to do
Rule number one, remember have fun
And no rolling up in a ball
Us armadillos, we know, will only go
To the side with the manicure station
What we lack in hair, we give great care 
To others who seek a coiffure
Let’s now take suggestions and open up
Questions, get ready, get set, yes?

“If a snake comes in and
Sheds his skin
Shall we tell him it’s okay?”
Of course we do
It’s nothing new
You know they outgrow
And need to let go
Those tight skirts and pants

“And how ‘bout the skunk
With her dreadful smell,
That odiferous trail, inhaled
From a mile away?”
Again we say yes
She’s in need of finesse
And won’t spray us
As long as we’re kind.

“The possum’s problems
Truly can we solve ‘em?
His tresses are messes
The teeth need braces
At least a retainer or two”
Dentistry we ignore
It’s not at the core
Of services that we provide
The hair, don’t despair,
It’s really all there
In the Armadillo book of instructions

Combs, clippers, air fresheners, dryers,
Scissors, shampoos, tiny capes, mirrors, 
Schooled and trained, we’re specialty specialists
Artisan artists, colorful colorists, vibing vibrationists
Now open the door, you’ll see we’re in store
For a treat, well, c'mon and usher those animals in.

Draft, Susan Thomsen, 2023


This kooky little poem grew out of a conversation with a friend about armadillos—and their long, manicure-worthy nails. I didn't envision writing a poem about the matter, but the armadillos took over and here we are. Maybe it's a companion piece to "The Dance of the Moonlight Jellies" from a couple of months ago.

Catherine Flynn hosts the Poetry Friday roundup at her blog, Reading to the Core, on October 13th.


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Fun, fun, fun! Yes, I think the possum needs braces. LOL. What a salon this would be to take all these customers...especially, Ms. Skunk.

Such fun. I love the idea of a manicure for those nails - and the bonus of the other animals, too. Thanks for the smile.

What a fun poem! Your rhythm and rhyme brought a smile this morning. I'll be thinking about that armadillo when I visit the nail salon tomorrow!

Specialty specialists indeed! Thanks for sparking our imaginations!

All are welcome at the Armadillo Hair and Nail Salon! What a fun poem! Those nails certainly would look pretty in a hot pink.

Love that title! What fun. Thank you.

For sure hot pink for the armadillos! Thank you, everyone for reading the poem and for your lovely comments. I do like armadillos, but there aren't any here in New England...that I know of!

So much fun in here! This needs to be a picture book!

This is so great! I'm picturing the fabulous illustrations and the picture book!

Patricia and Ruth, thank you! My original idea about the subject WAS a picture book and I still might try to shape this into something like that.

Susan, what a fun lyrical celebration of this Armadillo Hair and Nail Salon. I love that you let the playful armadillos take over your poem. It's really sweet! As you say, I'm glad you are still considering that it may become a picture book.

Although the armadillos are nervous, I think opening day is going to turn out all right! Thanks for reading, Denise. After the initial conversation with my friend, this started writing itself in my head.

Susan, since I just came out of the nail salon. I can say you gave me quite of bit to ponder. Shall I say LOL? I am sure grade school children would love this poem made into a picture book just as much as I enjoyed reading your post.

LOL is perfect, Carol! And how funny that you just came from the salon. Thank you for reading and for the encouragement.

Oh what a fun rollicking poem and look at those armadillo nails! Love your title and that there's an "Armadillo Hair and Nail Salon," makes me smile! Great armadillo pic, and yes to making it a picture book what fun the art would be, thanks Susan!

I needed to read something fun and this fits the bill. Thank you for making me smile.

Michelle, thank you so much! I "borrowed" the armadillo pics from Wikimedia Commons; it's a good one.

Jone, yay. I'm so glad! I'm happy you liked it. That's how I was hoping how the poem would go over.

Responding to sparks. Growing those faintly glimmering ideas. It's all part of the wild creative process we often decide to follow. Your armadillo adventure is full of fun and imagination, Susan. Bravo you, for following your intial idea through to fruition.

Alan, yes, that's it! Responding to sparks. Something about the armadillo conversation stayed with me. Thank you for your kind words.

I'm loving your inclusive armadillos!

Thank you, Mary Lee! They are nervous but good-hearted.

What a clever idea! I love that your armadillo stylist is up for any challenge!

This is so playful and fun, Susan! A nice reprieve when war and grief in being shared so much (not that that's a bad thing, either, but this is a great foil to that.

Catherine, thank you for hosting and for stopping by! I had fun with this one and wrote a lot of it walking the dog and talking to myself. :)

Thank you so much, Laura. What a week. I am so worried about everything that's going on in the world, but appreciate your nice words about the armadillos.

You are definitely on a 'roll' with this poem, Susan! So fun! :)

On a roll, hahaha! Thank you Bridget. I'm going to see what I can do with this one.

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