by Sarah Shotland
though they disturb some of the local residents,
are immaculately manicured.
Some with the pink and white tips,
popular in the second decade of the 21st century.
Some with bright orange declarations:
I’m not taking this shit anymore!
Some with subtle grays and mauves,
tucked into sensible mules
secretly slipped off under a cubicle desk.
Some with bright red fuck me’s
painted onto nails that were jagged and rough,
brought to the teeth and bitten
like babies cradling in an arm, a bottle.
The feet were free finally,
and as they made their armada procession
through the pacific,
they swept through the waves like
a great school of newborn fish.
The locals, when they netted the feet,
counted them like oysters, the nails the pearls
that marked them my mother.
Sarah Shotland is the author of the novel Junkette, and a playwright whose work has been produced nationally and internationally. She is the Co-Founder of Words Without Walls, which brings creative writing classes to jails, prisons, and rehab centers in Pittsburgh, and teaches in the MFA program at Chatham University. She loves her mother, despite what this poem might imply.