Ossified (From Below)

Ossified

My feet are long and thin
with bulbous onion growths
beneath the skin. It’s like
you have three ankles
on each foot
, my husband counts,
four if you include the real one.

And why, I wonder, each day
on the train, looking up at the host
of podiatry ads, are “before”
feet always so dirty (as if their owners, guilt-ridden,
stomped a wine made not of grapes
but ash) while the “afters”
have been de-smudged
as well as straightened, the services of
some modern Mary Magdalene
thrown in with the op.

My feet, despite the knobs, have (I flatter myself) a
singular beauty; the tendons cables, the skin
as taut and transparent as the marble veil
on a sculpted face. How I marveled
at those stone veiled heads
as a child visiting
museums, monuments–the way their features glanced
through an opaque gauze, the crease of marble
as transluscent
as tulle. Only my feet, not artifacts
as such, are more like
fleshly raincoats (the flasher inside out) whose ragged hems slowly
fill with quarters, lip balm, and this or that key
I had to replace.

They say old age creeps up on you, my grandmother
used to sigh, looking down at her own legs, like flaking
posts by the side of the bed, as if she could catch the years
in their scaling creep. Ooh, she moaned when my mother
squirted lotions
on their dry stiffness, too cold.

********************************

I’m posting the above poem late in the day for dVerse Poets Pub first Open Link Night of their second year of existence. (Happy Birthday dVerse Poets Pub, in other words. May the feet in all your poems stay fresh even as they age!)

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33 Comments on “Ossified (From Below)”

  1. Claudia Says:

    ha nice…love your ode to the feet…they often live a life tucked away and we just let them carry us without thinking much about them… this may sound weird but i find feet somehow the most intimate part of the body…


  2. Haha I love the poetry knows no bounds, and feet themselves become fascinating and mysterious in verse.
    Well written and enjoyed! thanks

  3. cloudfactor5 Says:

    “Only my feet, not artifacts
    as such, are more like
    fleshly raincoats (the flasher inside out) whose ragged hems slowly
    fill with quarters, lip balm, and this or that key
    I had to replace.” Had to laugh here, even though feet issues are not to be taken lightly, overall interesting and well written!

  4. Ravenblack Says:

    Hm…I find myself looking down at my own feet. I certainly find I need to be more aware of it as age comes creeping, not as soft as before.

    Cool poem, K. :)

  5. brian miller Says:

    you def have to take care of your feet they are what get you where you are going…i have pretty dense ankles from all the twisting of them on rocks and trails…some interesting observations ont eh before and after as well….

  6. Grace Says:

    Feet as fleshy raincoats and a beauty itself ~

    I am always squirting lotion on mine ~ creative as usual K ~

    http://everydayamazin.blogspot.ca/2012/07/my-journey.html

  7. Steve King Says:

    What a smart poem about the life process… The last stanza gives an added human dimension. Very nice.

  8. Laurie Kolp Says:

    I agree, we can’t hide our age when it comes to feet… and hands and neck. I especially like-

    Only my feet, not artifacts
    as such, are more like
    fleshly raincoats (the flasher inside out) whose ragged hems slowly
    fill with quarters, lip balm, and this or that key
    I had to replace.

    …and thanks for all you do!


  9. Ha! I love this. I didn’t make the association at first, then it kind of just walked up and kicked me in the butt.
    Nice one, k!

  10. janehewey Says:

    love this! for me, feet are our connection to our ancestry. the way your mother and grandmother come through here is wonderful. you have brought a delicious beauty to the human body-through the feet. just adored this write,k.!

    • ManicDdaily Says:

      Thanks so much, Jane. You know I’ve been feeling less and less like a poet these days. I really am a prose/fiction writer, so it can be very hard for me to come up with something like poetry, and yet, I think the prose is too long to post usually. But I have to figure something out because I’m not working on it much! And then there’s the job!!!!! k.

  11. beckykilsby Says:

    Your feet cover so much ground.. wonderful way of exploring beauty, age and perception. Loved it.. especially not knowing where it was going.. great narrative :)

  12. Susan Says:

    “My feet, despite the knobs, have (I flatter myself) a
    singular beauty; the tendons cables, the skin
    as taut and transparent as the marble veil
    on a sculpted face”

    Beauty, yes! How I remember the photograph “Nureyev’s Foot” and the power (and torture) of ballet it contained. Feet can be fetish to dancers and to me they are my weighty bearers, my favorite location for massage, my parts to be watched for diabetes, and what keeps me on the path if I walk in my own shoes.

    Yours are not “Ossified”–not if they collect you like the pocket of a raincoat, not if you still feel them hurting below your legs . . . .

    • ManicDdaily Says:

      Susan, just looked up that photo – I loved Nureyev- saw him perform several times when I was young and waited at stage door a few times so saw him face to face – amazing picture – the foot looks almost like a hoof, or at least something on a pedestal (of the big and second toe.) Amazing amazing, thanks so much. k


  13. Wonderful reflection. I like to consider feet and hands–they tell stories. Just think of where they take us, how they serve our lives. Think I’ll do a pedi tonight. Definitely!

    • ManicDdaily Says:

      Ha! I’ve never had such a thing! Crazy. But I used to do a great deal of yoga (still a bit) and one did not want feet to be in any way slippery. k.

  14. markwindham Says:

    very reflective and yet still fun. We were talking about feet the other day. My Mom hated them, all of them, thought they were gross. My son has inherited a degree of this.


  15. Karn–you can find a poem in anything. better late than never (I had to looking for you…..that was a long list!)

    thanks for sharing.

  16. yoga-adan Says:

    really like both the humor and the gentle pathos, and then the even gentler touch with your grandmother

    esp liked,

    “It’s like
    you have three ankles
    on each foot, my husband counts,
    four if you include the real one.” -

    i could see him there counting and grinning ;-)

    the marble sequences were very nice in their nuances of opaqueness and transparency, was reminded of that when we got to your very warm ending w/your grandma

    thanks so much k. ;-)


  17. This poem is quite a *feat* – sorry, couldn’t resist. Seriously though, I love the descriptions – I ignore my feet so much of the time, I feel I now should give them a little TLC after reading this. :)

  18. poemsofhateandhope Says:

    This had me chuckling- straight from the first stanza and the bulbous onion reference! Also a reference to maturing years maybe!…but either way…a great poem for all the knobbly, onion shaped feet of the world!…. You manage to bring such energy to your words….completely engaging

  19. Mama Zen Says:

    “Translucent as tulle.” Wow, I love that!

  20. ayala Says:

    Creative write… Feet take us everywhere :) enjoyed this, Karin.


  21. Really, really, really liking the third verse. Particularly the phrase “fleshy raincoats.”

    That’s just ridiculously good.

  22. zongrik Says:

    feet are not artifacts!!

    even worse than the podiatrist, what about the orthopedic foot surgeons, they really can get into things down there.

    my input: getting old sucks cuz you loose all the oils in your feet and they dry up and crack!!!

    Lillian Gish


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