My parents never danced in the kitchen—
no flamboyant dip in a red silk
dress, no rakish tilted fedora. They swayed
to a predictable rhythm of domesticity;
their embraces proper, Presbyterian.
Evenings, with dishes cleared from the table
and children pajamaed, they sat
at opposite ends of the couch.
My mother slipped shoes off
and stretched her legs to nestle
bare feet in my father’s lap.
He would massage the left arch
and then the right of each foot with his strong
thumbs, slowly circle the ankles,
caress the heels. He kneaded the crevices
between each toe to touch that tender hollow
on the underside. She settled into cushions
to arrange her feet as a cat would curl,
and like a cat she purred.
Who knew that the foot, with all its
tiny bones, could soften and surrender
to pleasure like that. The whole house
mellowed under its lid. Then they rose to
the last choreographed tasks
of the day: latch the doors, dim
the lights—two beats slow, quick
Connie Soper’s poems have recently appeared in North Coast Squid, The Ekphrastic Review, Windfall, and Rain Magazine. She divides her time between Portland and Manzanita, Oregon. Publication of her first full-length book of poetry is forthcoming in 2022 from Airlie Press.