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Someone who does not stumble, stub a toe, or step on a nail,
if you are to believe the etymologists.
And somehow related to impeach
from the Latin im-, meaning not peachy or not plum,
or not desirable. Like an octopus attack,
which, too, is rooted by the foot—ped-, pes-, octo-ped—
and how hard it would be to walk on eight legs, and
not stub a toe, or step on a nail, or trip over
an irresponsible foot,
so float, angelic, instead of amble along upon the soil.
Soil being impediment to impeccable,
being a kind of impotence,
a kind of impudence—being without shame
but in a negative way, in a way that impedes the way,
and not in the way that is the “without shame”
of impeccability and so nimble and dexterous.
The kind of impediment associated with the wearisomeness
of soil and with—im-,not not but with, and ped, pedis—feet, like
two left feet, so to speak, is
an impediment. Or something
like putting your foot down. Or putting
your foot down and stepping in it, which is to mean
the soil, which is to soil:
to defile, to foul, to wallow, to sully, or simply to
start off on the wrong foot. Which,
if you’re a mollusk, is troublesome enough—being without legs.
Being also without
winged feet, winged hat and caduceus.
And being also of only one foot, and knowing not
if it’s the right or wrong foot. And thus being unable
to stumble, already im-
paired, crawling,
dragging a lonely foot, contrite—radula rooted,
rubbing lovingly the soil—and inching, foot by foot,
toward us.

First published in issue 44.1, Fall 2014, of Phoebe Journal.