ii. feet


i used to wash my feet 57 times every night before i went to bed.

but from the day we sat cross-legged on the white floor, my anxious toes playing opus 38 as i watched your tears leak after mine, the dirt on my feet was the last thing i could think of that night.

the ceaseless friction from the endless running of water against the floor burns on my feet, across my metatarsals and over my naviculars; the relentless abrasion of calloused sole on sole, between bruised toes and over broken nails– melted its attrition to oiled heat between our feet.

our toes aligned; weaving; tangling at wavering velocity. the tips of our distal phalanges plotted a velocity-time graph where our acceleration drew curves on gridded sheets below us, the unused water on the shower floor on which i used to stand reflected the shadow of our cambering toes. newtons third law of motion tells us that for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction but the friction between us is a fluctuation i can never calculate into isonomy. and if f=ma then where did all the resultant force between our feet go when the weight of our hearts exceeded our acceleration? will these worn soles we wear run into other shoes that are not each other?

under the tables our toes play silent games of children but i will never know who started it. the quiet moments you curl your toes up and cross your feet away from mine, mine dig into the floor in search of answers because i never, never know where youve gone. the way your feet rest against the floor as you walk (and i never can decide whether your weight is forward or back) is a reciprocal of my ungrounded ones, shifting weight from heel to toes to arch to lateral seesawing and occasional loss of balance. every day i wish to be as close as the floor is home to you.

ive never stopped being embarrassed of how my feet leave marks in dark studios and and how they slip against the rubber flooring and how i never seem to be able to stop my toes from curling under the friction of partial evaporation. ive always dodged and pulled away from touch of my dampened palms and soles– please dont touch me. ive always kept my hands and feet to myself, legs crossed, overlapping feet, hands curled up into fists and nestled in hoodie pockets and nails dug into skin and bleeding knuckles and all of that shelter but these days i think about how the warmth of your extremities can be so much more refuge than the defense i have never let down for anyone else.

the day we sat cross-legged on the white floor, my anxious toes playing opus 38 as i watched your tears leak after mine, i found so much more worth caring for than appendages, more than 57 taps and 57 breaths and 57 blinks and 57 steps and 57 counts and 57 cuts and avoiding lines and not feeling right and repetitive compulsions in fear because why would anyone want to be so scared of existing when someone else more deserving lost his chance to live?


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