I Was 36
before I had a pedicure and it wasn’t until after my 6th that I thought of my grandmother – of her white, ice cube-esque heels in open toed white slippers – of the blue handled device she scraped against her feet while she watched her stories. I‘d volunteer to scrub her feet because I just liked the feel of it – the tool – like stone – like a curved white rock picked from the dirt driveway – as white as the cylindrical and smooth item I found in my mother’s bottom drawer on which – like every child – I could easily find the power switch for. I wrapped my hair around the tube saying, “Mom, let’s curl my hair.” Laughter – a lesson in not going through other people’s personal affects because sometimes when you touch someone else’s things you find yourself flaking off the dead skin from your grandmother’s feet or – you hope – reflecting 30 years later – that the other “it” was clean. I’m – therefore – thankful for the small, wet Asian hands sanding my big toe’s callus into beige bits like bars of soap slivering in the shower. I wonder – and I doubt – that this is another moment my mother and I would have shared – she of no make-up, straight hair – Family Dollar wardrobe.
Author’s Comment: “I was 36” began while I was receiving a particularly rigorous pedicure. As I worked on it I thought back to an old abandoned poem dealing with a certain item found in a mother’s dresser. The images finally worked together. They say you never really abandon a poem. Well, at least for me, you never completely abandon an image.