I hold your foot to my chest, as my thumbs
work their way up the sole. Fold the metatarsals
around one hand with the other, and then
splay them with both. Work the motherloads
under the ball of the foot, under the first toe-joints.
Tweak the tips of the toes.
Give each a little tug: like straightening five little spines.
Hold them a moment, feeling the heartbeat echo
in them, with some sense that's neither quite
hearing nor touch, the life pulsing, glowing like the sun
seen through closed eyelids. This is love if anything is.
Wading ashore on a bright day. This new
gentle country, after months of stormy crossing.
I have outlived all my people. I am ancient,
made of shrivelled flyaway tatters
and gnarled stick-bones. The sun is all the more grateful
for that. The lendings all thrown off. I come ashore
slowly, like a wasp
crawling from a puddle, brilliant in the sun.
I am too old to die now. I am past
the dangerous withering phase.
There's nothing in me now but light and love,
the sunbeat, and a few fine scraps
of deathless skin and bone.