Washing my feet, I notice
swirl around the pink tile floor
in spirals, soapy loops, the center lines of the tiles
bowed in streaks of white Comet stains.
The feet themselves
have grown firm, like leather; like the bright orange and stark pink
hides drying in the hot Moroccan sun
on an afternoon hilltop in Fes,
the smells of the medina below,
the bleh-ing of goats around.
I notice the feet.
The feet are thick and tough.
Worn this way on purpose, walking
toe-ball-heel along the mile long Ala Wai canal.
When I rub the sides of the big toes together,
it feels like wearing oven mitts to touch a hot pie.
It’s not the sensitive flesh,
exposed skin, soft and supple that I expect
and know is the truth,
but a layer of numbness.
The opposite of the time I had my tooth pulled
at the dentist, and was sent home
with lips that felt the size of soup bowls.
I notice the ankles.
I’m unsure of where the feet end,
where the ankles start. The soapy blues
haven’t swallowed them yet,
haven’t rendered them pink and shiny
like the toes. There’s a patch of dirt
on the knobs of the ankles, nearly perfect in circle,
as if I had taken a marker and drawn
a bullseye. It’s so perfect I’m loathe to scrub it away.
I pad the pink feet against the pink tiles that are
slippery with bubbles and I see the spiraling
looping, sweeping grit that has run off.
I see it swirl and linger and dive into the
octagonal drain, through the hive of holes
like the eyes of a fly.