Phalanges (fa-lan-jees)

Keep phalanges out of outlets
Keep phalanges to yourself
Clip the ends of those phalanges
Don't put them in your mouth

There's phalanges on your hanjees
And phalanges on your feet
They're good for poking people
You use them when you eat

Phalanges can be handy
For playing in the snow
But phalanges will fall off
If you get them really cold

So take care of your phalanges
You can't grow any more
I wouldn't put them in that fan...
Thunk! Thunk!
Now they're on the floor.

Copyright B.C. Byron 2021
Take care of your phalanges and keep them away from fan blades

Phalanges is one of the coolest words I know. It’s the technical term for the little bones hanging off your hands and feet, but I like to use the term phalanges in place of the words fingers and toes. It just sounds better when you say “get your phalanges out of the peanut butter jar”, or call those tricky little paper puzzles a “phalange trap” instead of a finger trap. It’s the fun kind of scientific word that makes me think, “that needs a silly poem”. For the kids reading this poem, you now have a word to impress your friends and teachers, a word that you can slip into everyday conversations and have a laugh as people tilt their head to the side and say, “your what-jees?”

Another great anatomy word is epidermis. It’s the thin, upper layer of skin that we can see. My friends in grade school used to tell me that my epidermis was showing and act all embarrassed. Not knowing the word’s meaning, I would check that my pants were not falling down and my shirt was buttoned. I had no idea that my face was covered in epidermis. Another great way to have fun with science words. Science and poetry are also a great pairing.

Take care of your phalanges, kids. Keep them out of spinning fans, blenders, bear’s mouths, and nuclear reactors.