Accounts may differ; even who
she was, but all agree: what she
did then will live in memory.'

She bathed your feet;
her tears excessive;
excessive, too, the oil.

Who were the other guests?
Was one a patron? Was
this woman of the city
beautiful or plain?

Her hair to dry the tears;
she covered your feet with kisses
and ointment smooth and soft
as a woman’s hands.

Her touch revealed a deeper
innocence that belied her past.
What bond? What intimacy?

Weeks later, in an upper room,
you took off your outer garment,
wrapped a towel around your waist.
Did you think of her?

You grasped their feet,
the dirty toes, the water
warm; a firm yet gentle touch.

The water soothing,
strong hands relaxed the sinews
in their feet and calves.

The flesh feels new, smooth
to the touch, a woman’s skin.
Their feet have never
felt so clean.

Your act transports them
back to childhood, even
unremembered infancy.

How can a man
whose feet are bathed
think evil thoughts?
How can they not
be touched, even unmanned?

The joy that touch evokes
flows out among them
like a river, or a stream
of tears. No need for the command.

Ed Block © 2019
from Banners of Longing
published by permission

(see author's web site at Greendale Brush & Quill)

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