“Ceremony” by Kelly Sievers

Kelly Sievers, CRNA


with balanced ease on sturdy legs Mya pulls
white socks from my father’s feet. Twisted
toes-riding-toes loom, nails thick, long,
and yellow as bad front teeth. She does not flinch,
slides each foot, turnip purple, into bubbling water.

                                                    My father,
who has lived nearly ninety years in his
peasant body says, Old feet… She nods,
begins her work. When Mya massages
deep into his solid calves, he raises
his eyebrows, telling me this woman knows
what a job well done means.

                                                    He did fine work
in tool and die for forty years. At home
he whistled Sousa from his workbench. Any job
worth doing… Our prizes: broken radios,
roller skates, or toasters with stubborn innards,
repaired with ease.

                                                    His feet
soak now in soapy water. He watches
Mya shellac fuchsia on young toes. “You want?”
she asks. They laugh in unison. Beside
the bamboo plant a radio shifts tunes,
she hums, he whistles softly. Head bowed,

she dries his feet.

from Rattle #28, Winter 2007

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