That kind of day— when even the wren
in the tree swipes its bill back and forth
on the end of a dead limb, as if sharpening
a knife on the whetstone. And so instead
of waiting resigned for the blade to fall,
or the basilisk to sink its old caried
tooth into the vein throbbing at the base
of my nape, I betake myself to a spa
called Millennium Nails at the mall.
The water in the basin swirls with warmth;
and a dark-haired woman named Maria takes
my tired, callused feet into her two gloved
hands. She lathers and massages with pomegranate
oils, sugar and crushed walnut seed scrubs till—
don’t laugh— the ginger-root knobs on my toes
unclench. When she lifts my feet to pat them
dry on the terrycloth towel, I know all about
her so-called best friend who didn’t come
to her wedding, and she knows the age
when I had my first child. Is it the light
chemical veil of ammonia floating in the air,
or the low-key bubble of voices across the room?
No matter: I can only think of the poet who’d written
of the world in a grain of sand and of holding
infinity in the palm of his hand; and of how,
likely, he never had a pedicure in all his life.
Maria and I bend over rainbow rows of bottles
with names like Haze of Love or Cha-Cha-Champagne;
Snake Charmer, Bling to Me, Seize the Daze, Fire Starter—
for all I know, they could be ruby-lit signs:
shiny new fortunes just waiting to be painted on.
In response to an entry from the Morning Porch.