SUE LITTLETON : Golden Lotus Feet
JANET BUCK : Peanut Butter on a Knife
TRINA STOLEC : Other Side Of The Fence
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Golden Lotus Feet Peanut Butter on a Knife Other Side Of The Fence

Golden Lotus Feet
When I see my granddaughters running past me to feed the bright koi in the garden pond, I weep for them. Hidden Moon will be six and Small Willow has just turned seven. Their older sister, Lily, daughter of my son's First Wife, is fourteen. At night I hear her sobbing from the pain. Poor Lily, you have had eight years of torment, and who am I to tell you the ache never stops, never, at any time, asleep or awake? The splendid ceremony of your wedding awaits you, your life as a new bride, your husband's delight with your youth and beauty, those exquisite feet-- your first pregnancy-- and then, heavy with child, supported on either side by a house slave so you can walk with the burden of your swollen body – in childbed, for a moment the eternal pain dulled by a stronger, rewarding pain. Your little sisters are enchanted with your dainty embroidered silk slippers. Envious, they yearn for their own delicate slippers, and are disappointed that you do not run and play with them, that you remain cloistered in the women's quarters with your mother. The little girls know you are preparing for your wedding as Second Wife to the rich landowner, your marriage arranged by the famous Matchmaker who has charged a high fee for her services. Your new husband will be charmed and excited by your swaying walk, the erotic “lotus walk,” as you totter on your tiny feet that he can hold in the palm of his hand— For hundreds of years the status of your class has been bound up with the binding of a woman's feet. No one remembers how it began; the legends are many, but the reality is here and now. No man wants a bride who cannot exemplify his wealth and station with “golden lotus” feet. (In our house you recall that each door has a wooden threshold two hands high. No woman with bound feet can cross that smooth-sided board without assistance. We are made prisoners in our own homes, useful for an abusive husband to contain and control his wife or concubine.) My daughter-in-law is already talking with the foot binder to begin Willow's ordeal in a few months; She is contemplating allowing Hidden Moon to share her sister's binding, since the girls are so close and can comfort each other. Does she not remember her own binding, the breaking of the toes and then the arches of her feet as her toes are curled under to touch her heels; the endless pain when the foot must be un-bandaged and re-bandaged periodically for the rest of her life, to keep the skin clean and the nails cut short? Has Mirrored Blossom forgotten her own childish tears at the death of her sister at seven when the septicaemia from her tortured feet killed her? Blossom wants her daughters to marry well; no woman goes against embedded custom, and the men of their caste have succumbed to the rules of culture, enjoying the sexual arousal caused by the Lotus Walk and that small foot that can nestle in a man's open palm. I am old now, and I know many things, but most of all I know the pain ever-present in my useless, distorted feet. Perhaps, some day, in another hundred years, a change will occur that will give high-born women the glorious freedom of the humble peasant woman bent double in the rice fields, the fisherwomen at the docks, the house servants and slaves. I know the change will not be in my lifetime, nor in the lifetimes of Hidden Moon and Small Willow. But surely… Someday, please, Someday! N.B. After a thousand years of the practice, foot binding was officially forbidden in 1912 - Sue Littleton
I have many things to write unto you but I will not write with pen and ink
--JOHN the theologian

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Golden Lotus Feet Peanut Butter on a Knife Other Side Of The Fence

Peanut Butter on a Knife
Chest plumes are a silver stash. I love sorting these memos of age, these reeds of wise, this lint in wet, warm cookie dough. It's a little garden here, a populace of soft gray spikes striking back at rain swords rusting the summer on a tight schedule of death. Your sigh in my ear -- jasmine and alyssum grain-- lick reply correcting the raven's teeth, cushioning impossibles. We are the chunnel beneath the moors now stripped of birds. You touch old bearings as they turn. I sputter things. Je t'aime. Je t'aime. The raft appears. The wave will win -- of course it will. Eerie as a waiting teardrop stewing right behind an eye. I wiggle toes of consonants -- looking for twigs to buffet the fall. Trees grow smooth as heavy scissors pushed against the window pane. I steal your pillow, prop my head, graced with scents your hair has left-- peanut butter on a knife. I want to stay where we've arrived, two fence slats tied against the wind. Deep black soy that flavors sponges of tofu
Poetry endangers the established order  of the soul - Plato

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Golden Lotus Feet Peanut Butter on a Knife Other Side Of The Fence

Other Side Of The Fence 
Straight line surrounding circular area. White knuckles gasp cold metal mesh Diamonds imprint my face On the other side they cha cha, kiss, make love. I watch through the fence -- Alignment of attitude an admission price too high to pay.
Illinois-Chicago Purple Landscape

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SUE LITTLETON : Golden Lotus Feet
JANET BUCK : Peanut Butter on a Knife
TRINA STOLEC : Other Side Of The Fence

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