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What a strange job to do!

Beautifying people’s feet.

Making their toenails straight

Cutting away the dry skin

Tidying the cuticles.

Chatting, talking to them

About nothing and everything.

What do they really think about?

These girls who do the pedicure,

What is it that makes them tick?

Are they failed beauticians, or

Did they just draw the short straw?

“Oh another pedicure!

It’s your turn today!”


For an hour they wash and scrape

And rub in and exfoliate

They tenderise, they prettify

And all the time.- it’s SOMEONE’S FEET!

Appendages on which they stand!

On which they walk, encrust with dust and dirt

Something actually quite ugly.

Lumps of sometimes smelling flesh

Globules on the ends of legs.

Get down close and intimate

With strangers bunions and calluses

Filing off the lumps of flesh

And rubbing unguents into heels

Poking sticks down nail edge cracks

And scooping out the yukky bits

What a strange job to want to do!


Manicure is something else.

People’s hands tell who they are.

You’re on a level, face to face

Not squatting down upon the floor,

Not dealing with the foot-soil grime

And massaging the weary calves

And muscles of the standing parts.


Perhaps these gentle angel girls

Are really Jesus in disguise?

Perhaps they wash disciples feet

And listen to the moods and sighs

Of creaking and disgruntled folk

Who just want sweet and lovely feet.


Penelope Dumere © 2008

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