Beautiful Feet by Katrina Wharton

Soft green lawn sings
against my heels. Alive again
out here. Skip over the nasty
cactus-like weeds whose needles
stick hard and must be
coaxed out with tweezers.
I run past honeybees busy
in the dandelions cursed
by everyone else.

By mid-summer Iíll take the gravel
of the alley, hard and without pause.
Well-earned callouses
will cradle my feet against
the rough bumps. But still tender,
I must now jerk and jump
stutter steps, a frantic dance
punctuated by an occasional cry.
Crossing the alley seems a mile.

When summerís ripe, Iíll go all the
way to the road and wait
for the tar to bubble
up, black beads begging
to burst under my toes. Then Iíll cross
the yard collecting dirt and dried grass
on my soles.

Feet arenít ugly, no matter
what some say. I look at mine
after a long day of play,
streaks of mud and ground-in tar,
scab on my big toe where
I stubbed it on the jagged
broken sidewalk edge, gravel
dust obscuring pale
pearly nailpolish.

Ugly? No, you just gotta let them
run free and theyíll love
you back. Scrub them down
in the tub. Use soap if you must.

If the callouses remain, and a faint
shadow of black tenaciously
clings like your very footprint,
Then you know
you loved them right.

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