About Standing (in Kinship) by Kimberly Blaeser

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.

About Standing (in Kinship)

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.

15 thoughts on “About Standing (in Kinship) by Kimberly Blaeser

  1. Lovely, Jan. Our poor feet that are so often thought of as ugly and get so worn out with our standing on them all day long, holding us to the earth, moving us around a day. I’m going to give mine a little massage today. 🙂

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  2. A Homework on my Feet, etc.

    I know shit happens. When many life circumstances happen within a couple months, wowzah. When it came to asking for help sometimes, I had no choice, I needed to survive. Other times I could have managed but it would have been a suffering of sorts. Oh, please read to the end.
    Firstly, I had a right big toe fusion. After the operation I stayed at my sister’s house for two weeks because getting around was impossible. She fed me and changed my ice packs. I was nakedly embarrassed when I had to ask her to help me into the shower. While there, her dog chewed up my hearing aides because I forgot he was a climber. I asked the VA for new ones. I asked for help getting a ride to the VA. I asked people to speak louder. I couldn’t see what they were saying because they were wearing masks. Then, I asked them to speak louder, again.
    Then, my e-mail got hacked and I had to ask people what to do about it. It took three weeks to fix many issues. My heater and hot water system broke down. I asked the plumber to get me a new one. Before that, he had to put a new toilet in. I asked him what he was doing a lot and should I know about things. I asked him to come back when the shower handle wasn’t controlling the water heat. He hasn’t come back yet. I struggled in frustration. Because of Covid I had to drive an hour to my folks to shower. Of course, I asked my Mother if I could and she laid out my towels as if I was three.
    My friend Theresa came to visit me when I got to my house. She wanted to play the card game cribbage. I asked her not to play cribbage. Once, I asked her not to come. When she was supposed to come, she forgot to come. I wanted pea soup. I got something I can’t spell. Sometimes when you ask, you don’t get what you expect to. I hurt; it hurts.
    I broke my tooth so I asked the dentist for an appointment. First, I had the X-rays and the cleaning. Tomorrow, I shall get fitted for a crown. Then I get a bonus of a mouth guard so I don’t grind my teeth when I sleep.
    I was printing or trying to print and that brought the dead error code up so I went to make a cup of coffee and my coffee maker was dead to the world. Luckily, I asked the Doctor for a note to get a handicap parking permit.
    I got to drive myself to Bed, Bath and Beyond with my coupons to get a new coffee maker. I parked in handicap parking and made it into the store. I forgot my cane. I asked customer service to just go get me a coffee maker (the Keurig that costs about $110). She couldn’t but she could get on the intercom and summon another woman. That woman came and I asked her to go get me a coffee maker because I couldn’t walk that far, etc. “Well, we have several,” she said. Then she pointed to a wheel chair, went and got one and helped put my feet in the holders. She gave me a nice long ride to the coffee makers and a full lesson on all 7 of them. I picked out the maker I needed and my helper set it on my lap. We helped a man pick out his coffee maker and headed back to checkout. I felt so seen and contained in that moment. She spoke loud for me without forgetting and was a real kind person. She was helping at her best in her own way. I had no expectations once I was in the wheel chair. I knew I wasn’t going to crash. I was held. I looked her straight in the eyes and finally meant, HAVE A NICE DAY!

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  3. Dear dear Donna, this is just brilliant!!! I love how you name all the asks, how some brought you what you wanted or needed and some not – what a marvelous journey of exploration, a real teaching story. Your coffee maker story is so heart-opening – so seen and contained and held. You have just made my day Donna. much love to you, Jan

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  4. This is a lovely poem to get today. I clipped my baby toe on the foot my keyboard stand and badly bruised it. Brought my attention to my toes and feet. Otherwise rather taken for granted as sturdy they usually are! As always great gratitude to you Jan for your perspectives and for your kinship. Love Madeline

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