We all have the same little bones in our foot
twenty-six with funny names like navicular.
Together they build something strong—
our foot arch a pyramid holding us up.
The bones don’t get casts when they break.
We tape them—one phalange to its neighbor for support.
(Other things like sorrow work that way, too—
find healing in the leaning, the closeness.)
Our feet have one quarter of all the bones in our body.
Maybe we should give more honor to feet
and to all those tiny but blessed cogs in the world—
communities, the forgotten architecture of friendship.
I’ve always liked the concept of kinship, that state of relatedness with others, our affinity with other people, animals, earth beings. There is a connection, a sense of empathy which feels important to me and the rare kindred spirits in my life with whom I share this closeness are precious to me.
So I was pleasantly surprised by how this poet introduces us to the idea that we all share twenty-six little foot bones with funny names like navicular. How together they build something strong, how they hold us up, allow us to walk through our lives. How when one of those bones breaks, they get taped to the ones beside it for support. And then she reveals her lovely analogy: how things like sorrow work that way too, find healing in the leaning, the closeness. Oh yes, it is the leaning toward one another, the connection that can ease grief, even while we feel the pain of the loss, the broken place.
She suggests we might honour our feet, those 26 small bones that are so necessary to being upright and mobile, and also give honour to all those tiny but blessed cogs in the world – those interconnections of community, the forgotten architecture of friendship (such a lovely phrase). Consider if you will, the architecture of your own connections with people, your kinships, how we could not stand for long without them.
Perhaps as I walk today, I will feel those bones, feel the closeness with my kin, with all of you.