Podiatry (continued)



I look at the scars that healed

on my legs and feet,

extremities that will one day

take the brunt of lectures from a podiatrist.


What abuse story will best explain their condition?

During elementary school recess,

lunch ladies used to like watching me

outrun boys in a jumper dress, knee socks

and navy blue ribbons at the end of my pigtails.

I was pushed from behind in second grade,

sent skidding on gritty concrete

until it tore off all the top

layer of skin on my knees. When mamma

saw me in the front office

with  band-aids and a zip-loc bag of ice,

all she told me was, “You really need to be a lady.”


They also remember warnings: “You know, if you

get hurt, we can’t afford to take you

to the hospital!” She meant it after I twisted

my ankle on a friend’s trampoline when I was nine

and she  didn’t even have to ask why

I limped between hiccuped sobs because, “I knew it.”

The right foot still spasms on days I wake up

to winter cold, or when I flashback

to the blackout pain (right now, for instance).


Did I forget to tell my husband

about the Fourth of July when I got this

almond-shaped scar right below my left knee?

Just a slight tap from the edge of a dropped

iron can, almost immediately, make skin

rise and blister like a flour pita on the stovetop.

The sting  grabbed me by surprise each time

I tried to move  forward.

Not even aloe vera could remove the past fully.


Or–should I tell a doctor every time I stubbed

my toe, even my entire foot, against the edge

of a chair, dresser, bed, nightstand,

the pain leaving me to grasp at stars and air?

Or the second time I twisted my ankle

while climbing (falling) out of a tree?

How about  rookie razor cuts when I first started

shaving in the bathtub? I need to say I first started wearing

high heels when I was twelve, and my husband constantly

asks me why do I walk so hard, slamming my heels

on pavement to demand power in a short stature,

and repeats “that’s why you’re always in pain.”


No, I need to tell them what really happened

on the morning of Memorial Day.

I was young enough to think I didn’t need to stretch

before running down a tree lined trail and I didn’t need

to put ice on the pulled muscles afterwards. Four years

later is leaving regrets; there are bruised shadows

under the ankle whether or not I wake up and resort

to a tiptoed limp. If what is said is true,

how you’re young  until muscle

and bones remind you to slow down,

the regrets will deepen with age.


I’m thinking about the consequences now, what

to tell a doctor one day as I press a towel-wrapped

ice cube into the arch and bite my bottom lip. I don’t

remember slipping on water that seeped under

the front door as I hurried to leave this morning,

and life happened too fast when I slammed against

the hard wood trunk.

My husband cradled me like a child as I screamed

without a tear, but I can’t remember pain. Only the hours

can tell me why the right foot–

the same one to twist on a trampoline–is swollen,

calling me with distress signals.


It might be time to finally get over mamma’s

reluctance of doctors and talk

endlessly before it’s too late to be pain-free. Or–

Epson salt is waiting under the bathroom sink,

I’m young and stupid

and I worship time that’ll never run out.


Note: Complete! But needs a few revisions. 






2 responses »

  1. I must have to disagree with you. I definitely don’t think any revisions are needed! This is an amazing post!

    “If what is said is true,

    how you’re young until muscle

    and bones remind you to slow down,

    the regrets will deepen with age”

    Loved this

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