Travelers Welcome

Travelers Welcome

Thursday, May 30, 2013


by Emily Lake Hansen

After they took her tail, she had to learn
about feet: how to wriggle
the leftover thread out of her toes,
how to scrub off the dead skin
with a file, how to balance her weight
between the two of them – there were two,
that had surprised her. She became
meticulous, waxing away the blonde hairs,
fine and invisible, painting her toenails
red – a color the bottle called Red at the Beach.
Later, she learned to dunk them into water,
to tie them back together with butterfly kicks,
to move her toes so that each one
felt the ocean. At the beach now,
she sits at the edge of the shore,
legs spread apart, bottom buried in sand,
and tries to remember if she had been happier
back when she was whole and light
underwater or if she prefers the new work
of walking, heavy, through the waves.

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