Friday, April 1, 2011

Painting the Roses Red

Lugol's Iodine

First, I trim and paint her toenails,
A coat of sparkle white covering
A coat of sparkle blue varnish. Her choices.
Then, while she's still sitting in the big chair,
Her legs stuck out straight, legs still
Too short for her knees to reach
The bend in the chair, I kneel to her feet
And paint her soles with what I am told
Is the right solution. It smells so clean.
I remember the painted gash
Across my own belly where I was
Opened up twice, once to save my life,
Once to save hers. The stain
Is a soft sepia, the tint of nostalgia,
Of spilled tea, of the evidence
Of a leak in the ceiling, something
You watch spread a little bit each night
As you fail to fall asleep. Is it getting worse,
Or are you just imagining it? You really should
Do something about that, it looks bad, but what?
She wriggles as I hold her
Foot and laughs that it tickles.
She tries to pull away from me,
And I let her foot slip easily from my hands.


Slothrop said...

This 1 really made me 5 year old recently had her toenails done for the 1st time (pomegranate, her choice) & she was delighted - a struggle to get her to wear socks again. Her mother has the same scar & it still itches & saddens her at times.

I have a weakness for iodine, it's so crankily old-school & its burnt sienna-ness reminds me of when I was a painter. Hints of "Madeline" era & luddite recalcitrance. & it's *powerful* stuff...will corrode nearby stainless steel. In the Himalayas I used it for weeks to purify water & it definitely had novel side-effects.

Beautiful, resonant line about her foot.

Anonymous said...

like it very much - J.S.