Tell the String of Chromosomes Like a Rosary

Micki Blenkush

Saturday mass then supper
at the corner café.
Grandma hunched to one side
as if pulled by the weight
of her purse

and now my mother
leans the same
even when she carries nothing.
On the phone,
she talks of bunions.

Tells of toes crossing
one another like twisted,
low-down promises.
She details Grandma’s hammer toes,
her shoes to fit orthotics.

My own incantation
requires stretching every night.
Willing my curling grubs
to straighten, to soften
outside conclusion.

Three days ago I woke limping
and it has not gone away.
Unexplained burning
beneath the soft dip
of my three outer toes.

Again I remove my shoe and look.
Push about my sole.
Try to feel something
between my smallest bones.

Poem title from a line by Kathryn Kysar


Micki BlenkushMicki Blenkush lives in St. Cloud MN with her partner and daughter and works as a social worker. She is currently a poetry fellow with the Loft Literary Center’s Mentor Series and is a 2015 recipient of an Emerging Artist Grant awarded by the Central MN Arts Board, funded by the McKnight Foundation. Her writing has appeared in Naugatuck River Review, Star 82 Review, Gyroscope Review, and elsewhere.