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Thursday, July 10, 2008


by Greg Scott Brown

"Another human foot was found Wednesday on a British Columbia shoreline, the second this week and the sixth within a year in a bizarre mystery that has confounded police."
AP News item: 16 June, 2008

Six rough feet—
flesh, metatarsals
anklebones, and all—
washed up in a single year
on the Canadian shoreline,
each in running shoes.

If nothing else, that last bit is curious.
Are runners more likely to lose their feet?
More achingly poignant, to be sure,
as if such things mattered to the insensible universe.

Police are baffled:
      the feet did not seem severed
      or otherwise removed by force.

Who could fault the cops' touching certainty
feet won't secede from a torso laying claim
to the heart's proximity

and wouldn't willfully detach
to live free of the taint, of the name extremity?

Newspapers assure us (if assure is quite the word)
forensic pathologists will
      determine the source of the latest castaway foot
      and if it is related to other feet recently unearthed.

But, what I want to know is, what astonished beachcomber
found that first foot?
Digging sand with his toes,
then uncovering another's toes,

I wonder—
did he swoon with the old erotic charge of suddenly revealed flesh,

or kick it away
with his attached whole smug good foot?

Greg Scott Brown lives in the San Francisco Bay Area where he teaches the mysteries of Composition to largely uninterested young people. His poetry has appeared in Tattoo Highway, the Umbrella Journal and Off the Rocks.