How to Get Up
Kate Wyer

I'm sorry for the sharp toenail clippings on the carpet. It is rare that I remember my feet -- so when I saw the yellow curl of my toenail, I knew I had to act. I broke your clippers. I'm sorry. The nails are so tough now.
I see your hands pressing symbols that I understand as language. I understand the light over my bed. I do know the words pet and pet. How is one not the other? I remember the hands that lifted up my shirt and the cold, white cream on my back. I remember how my back wetly sucked the shirt after. I was pet and petted.
Your hands open my mouth. You are the nurse, so I let you. And you were back then, too. You are startled by my toes. Half of them are clipped. How did you manage? you want to know. I remembered, I say. You take a file and grate away. My heel is in your palm. I remember the cream, I say. Your eyebrows rise. I am amusing. You want foot lotion? That's great! There is a door in my throat when I say no. It sounds like I am crying. I am not amusing anymore. You are silent, grating. You taunt me with the memory. You pretend you never said, where can I feel your pulse?
It was you, it is you. It is the same, with the language and the lights and hands that move along skin. I hold a pen so you don't see my tremor when I point at you. You did it. It was you. You put my foot down and press the light above my bed. You leave.
I search the symbols. I don't know how to get up. I press them all. You are back. You give me a hard candy and tell me to suck. I hold myself closed and remember. I give you my foot.