Ornaments
by Jeff Santosuosso



Some people have beautiful hair, gorgeous eyes, shining teeth.
I have beautiful feet, ornamental feet.
Compliments everywhere. On the beach. At the park. The shoe store.
Which is where I bought these black wing tips
to match this suit I borrowed from my brother
who stands across my Dad’s casket.

My feet are sore. Stiff new shoes. No toe crease yet.
My dad’s going to heaven with only one shoe
because he’s going there with only one foot
following the amputation from his diabetes.
Blind. Obese. Prosthetic.
What happened to that foot?
Discarded somewhere.
Medical waste? Biohazard? Hard to imagine.
That pitted, blackened, wretched body part that used to hold him upright
with 5 toes, an instep, and a heavily calloused heel.
Just like the other one.

I used to sell surgical supplies
and saw a veterinarian neuter a cat
tied snugly with ropes so he wouldn’t shift on the operating table
while his tongue hung out by the anesthesia tube.
Incision. Tug. Snap.
Wrapped up into gauze and tossed into the trash.
“Finish your sales pitch,” the vet said as she Krazy Glued his empty scrotum.
“You haven’t lost me.”
But she’d lost me.

I vowed never to marry a veterinarian, a ball-cutting, ball-balling,
ball-wrapping, ball-tossing veterinarian
who could follow a sales pitch during a castration
of a helpless animal with his tongue hanging out.





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