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November 28, 2022

Mysteries of Toenails

By Sand Pilarski

Ladies with fine painted toenails
Shining red and neatly even
Make me wonder, "How they do that?"
Do they never trip and stumble?
Never chip the glossy toenail?
Never scrape the varnished edges?

Then the faeries of the havens
Whispered to me all the secrets
Of the ladies and their toenails:
"They wear socks about their toenails
Padded stockings without zippers -- "

"Why would stockings come with zippers?"
This I asked them, interrupting.

"Please shut up and pay attention,"
Said the faeries, "They wear stockings
When the public cannot see them.
When they stand and fold their laundry
When they phone for cable service
Then their toenails are protected
With all of their shine protected,
Their color, gloss and shape sublime."

"Tell me that their toenails only
Ever grow so sweetly even,"
Asked I bitterly of faeries
"That they never click on hardwood
Never get skag pointy edges
Like I get on weekly bases
As has been my lifelong fortune."

"Have you worn pink bunny slippers
To protect your precious toenails?
No, you have not. Thus you suffer,
For behavior of the foolish,
Riding bicycles sans footwear,
Playing soccer, playing football,
Wading in the stony creekbeds."

To their whisperings I had not,
No, not one resourceful answer
All too true my wayward feetness.
Never had I gone to Day Spa
Pedicures to ornament me.

I shut up. I could not question
Further of the painted toenails
Of the shiny reddened toenails
Of my neighbor, or my daughter
Or the lady in my church pew.

I walk on, unpainted, scraggly
Like an anteater with hangnails.
Feet like mine are why shoes were made.
"Cover up those puppies big time!
No one wants to see your bunions,
Hear your untrimmed toenails clicking."
So say the faeries, so say all.
Yet I will be faithful, my Feet;
As I love them, such as they are,
Carry me, perhaps they will still,
On beyond the fashion runway,
Far beyond convention's say-so.
Feet unpainted, feet untamed.

Article © Sand Pilarski. All rights reserved.
Published on 2007-01-29
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