Lake Effect, Spring 2018, Volume 22: "Kickback, or Isaac's Third Law"

Kickback, or Isaac’s Third Law

by Kate McCorkle


A summer floor, hardwood, cool to bare, calloused feet.

You shouldn’t walk barefoot. You’ll get worms that way. Slice yourself with glass.

Pebbled concrete: Outline the biggest, smoothest stone with a toe. How is an arch more sensitive than a palm? I push into it, my feet foothills, my body an erupting exten- sion of the earth’s crust topped by a snowcapped crown of wispy blond hair.

Look how filthy your feet are. Potatoes’ll grow between your toes.

Walking across the melting street at the beach. Smell of baking blacktop. Flip-flops are for babies. It hurts, but I pretend it doesn’t. I watch for glass shards (brown and green, shattered beer bottles) from the corner of sun-shaded eyes. This is why I walk into the ocean after dumping my bag and chair. I need to counteract cooking myself.

Older now, there is less to prove. Or maybe bare feet tire more easily.

Grass blades—the blades need to be felt. It’s no good with shoes. Even if it means mud-smudged feet.

I’m still trying to figure you out.

It’s not a voluntary thing.