At Mojo Spa

When she hits a deeply embedded
shard of ingrown toenail on the left

side of my right big toe, Carmela
the nail technician turns to Celine,

who is working on my sister-in-law’s
pedicure next to us. A flurry

of consultation ensues— after which
Carmela turns to me and says, Tell me

if it hurts, okay? With the tip
of her nipper, she nabs the offending

piece of growth and starts to tug.
It’s almost as if this hurts her

as much as me, so I tell her I have
a high pain threshold. Three more tugs,

and she lays the small hard nub
triumphantly on the towel: barely

a trace of blood. You okay? I’m okay.
I’m glad it’s out; even a small thing

like that can feel almost omnipresent:
pressure against the toe from closed

shoes pulsing bulletins to the brain
throughout the day. I apologize—

I’m ashamed she has to work on my ugly,
neglected feet, clearly in need of some

mojo. I envy their beautifully lacquered
nails— Celine sports a different color

on each finger, a different design. Carmela’s
are buffed to sleek points, and she has a contrast

color on the fourth fingernail of each hand.
They tell my sister-in-law they live near Montrose

and she says Oh! that’s where we lived
when we first got here.
Two women walk in

from the street. The manager is quick
to hustle. Sister, he says, I have some new

mineral foundation all the Filipina ladies
are c-r-a-z-y about. You’ve got to try it!

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