“Polished” by Jeanette Vo1 min read

29 August, 2019 0 comment

Image by Christopher Sardegna

My manicurist tells me
she left her country because she sought a better life.
Now she makes people pretty for a living.

I watch her draw little flowers on my toes
and meticulously glue pin-sized rhinestones.
My feet relax and
feel slightly ticklish.

The lady next to me
chats to the woman rubbing lotion on her feet.
Sue, I think her name is.
Sue smiles and compliments the lady, “Such beautiful feet!”
The lady has her eyes closed; she is enjoying the massage chair.

I smile contentedly at my manicurist, whose name is Tina.
She concentrates on putting on the final touches;
a crease between her eyes makes her look angry.

I feel I am closer to Tina than
the lady is to Sue.

Because Tina told me why she left her home.
I doubt the lady knows such a personal detail about Sue.
And for the last hour
Tina has rubbed and scraped my feet
not once grimacing as my skin shards and toenail clippings
flew like secrets into her lap.


Jeanette Vo lives in Richmond, BC. She is of Filipino and Vietnamese descent and was born in Canada. Her work has appeared in Existere, filling Station, (parenthetical), Vallum and Prairie Journal.

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