Reflexology Lesson

Take a firm hold of the foot.
Slowly apply pressure.
Listen to the foot’s response.
When it twitches or jerks
it is telling a story.

Though your hands
will never leave the feet,
you will touch every part of the body,
every crevice and appendage,
every nerve and muscle.
You must think of it
as a sacred act.

Don’t worry about incense
or candles or music.
Let the rhythm of the breath
fill the room.
It is music enough.

When the client thanks you,
and says she has never felt better,
don’t let it go to your head.
You can cure nothing.
You only provide a quiet space
for the body to heal itself—
if only for a little while.

Take meticulous notes.
there will come a time
when it will be important to know
that your right thumb
pressing the reflexes along the
anterior ridge of the left foot,

helped bring thirty minutes
of dreamless sleep to the client
who was tormented by insomnia
in the months before she leaped
from the 11th story window.

Gloria Heffernan’s poetry collection, What the Gratitude List Said to the Bucket List, is forthcoming from New York Quarterly Books. She has also written two chapbooks, Some of Our Parts (Finishing Line Press) and Hail to the Symptom, due out later this year from Moonstone Press. In addition, her work has appeared in over fifty journals including Chautauqua Literary Journal, Stone Canoe, Columbia Review, and The Healing Muse.