Poetry Thursday

The Foot Thing

On your first visit, you put your feet up
on my polished table. Ankles crossed.
Doc Martens. (And this was years after
they were out of fashion with the young.)

It can't have been easy
for a small woman like you
to have kept your feet up like that.
I had to talk to you by leaning round.

I didn't know what to do -
whether to push them off, offer a cushion,
tell you I couldn't see you for your feet,
or ask if you had trouble with circulation.

I did the sort of thing I always do:
I just set a knife on one side
and a fork on the other as if that were
a customary greeting for soles

and kept my face blank.
It must have been a test, because
I never saw you do it again, not here,
not at home, not in a waiting room.

You came again so many times
I must have passed, though
feel I failed: I still don't know
what you wanted me to do.

-Jane Routh

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