The History of My Feet

I dated a man once
Who found a freckle
On the inside
Of one of my toes

He kissed it and
Named it Christine

“Because they’re so pristine.” He chuckled.

There are those who
Give reverence to feet,
The curled elegance
Of an arch
The perfect setting of
The nails and even
The way they look
Pressed against lips

But he never asked me
Where my feet had
Walked or
The journey
They had taken
In this lifetime
If they’d ever ached
After a heart break
Or if they’d ever been
Loved enough

He never knew
These feet
Ran barefoot
Away from switches
Burned from
Long days
In fields
With no breaks
The tops of them sore
Having been pressed
Into wooden floors
Splintered from hours
Of forced praying

He never asked
About the rubble
These feet
Have stood under
Or how many times
They danced a jig
Against the blows
Of belt licks
Or counted footsteps

“How many steps
Would it take
To reach the highway
And get away?”

I love hands
The way they hold
And the left over scent
Of meals and
Baked bread

I love palm lines
The tales they
Leave behind
How many children
Birthed or not yet born
Hands worn from
Digging in earth
Hands holding fingers
That have soaked in
Endless tears
Lifelines and
How close we are
To dying

But who loves the feet
Twisted from walking
Miles through anguish
Down trodden and

Who loves the feet
Calloused from stone
Nerve endings
Alive with blame
Heels carrying shame
Feet that have kicked
To try and dispel
The loneliness?

Who adores the
Echoes of footsteps
Pounded out in dread
Running hallways leading
To doors that never open
Into freedom

I flirted a man once
Who adored me
And although he
Ached to hold my feet
He never journeyed
The depths of me

And what’s the point
In kissing toes for me
If you never care enough
To learn their history?

Vennie Kocsis


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