We observe the ritual:
The washing of the feet,
The anointing with oil and salt,
The baptism into bags of hot paraffin.
She paints a second coat
of Kingfisher Blue;
Toe by toe,
my head bows, my eyes close.
How beautiful are the feet that bring me
thro the valley of incense
Into the sanctuary where
I lay me down on a table.
I hear the prayers of the potion pumps,
Feel the cool blessing upon my face,
After the rooting out of those small sins
of eyebrow and chin.
A sermon about the disciplined life
Is delivered with smooth-faced earnest,
The collection is taken,
I leave my tithe.
Tonight, under a heavy quilt,
With smarting around the eyes and chin,
Deep in the secret dark,
Wiggle my ten toes of Kingfisher Blue.
Elena Louise Richmond
December 30, 2008.