feet like these

by kari teicher

Satin is a stupid fucking name isn’t it but that is what you get when your mom bleaches her hair over a gas station toilet and then spends twenty minutes with a trucker. She had the baby and that’s you, you are the baby. You could bleach your hair and have a baby too. You sit on the toilet seat and it buckles under your weight. This feels like a bad omen but you already signed the lease, so here you live.

You hoist your left leg up so you can grab your scaly little foot. These are criminal toenails. You’ll never get a man with feet like these. You wear socks during sex always and act like it was a funny accident each time a big oops mistake, except you do it forever. Your boyfriends are stupid and they do not care enough to notice. There is a ring of long hairs around your ankle, a franciscan monk haircut. How is it possible that you have never managed to get a razor all the way to the bottom of your leg never in your life. 

Someone jams a key in the lock and turns. You have left the bathroom door open because why not, and so now you sit naked a straight shot from the front door where someone is about to enter your apartment and say nice feet and then stab you. It is too late to move. You shake your hair out, for the door man. Maybe he will fall in love with you. 

The door opens, and shuts. Not yours. Your upstairs neighbour bangs up the stairs and puts salsa music on, and she sings and it is bad. Her name is Duchess, which you know because her mail says Duchess, even though when you first asked for her name she pregnant-paused she nine-month-pregnant-paused and then said Hannah. You are not friends. You like her but she does not like you even though you are great. 

Your cellphone rings and you look at the screen. No Caller ID, which means Mom. You let it ring ring ring ring until it is almost done ringing, until it is vibrating on the edge of the tub, almost clattering to its early and tragic death. Duchess upstairs stamps her foot to let you know that you are interrupting her dancing music, so you answer it.


Plans today, your mother asks.


You hate new year’s eve because as a rule it is the worst day of your year. Usually you eat a small edible gummy that doesn’t really work and you cry because there are no parties that you get invited to anymore. Your last boyfriend liked to go to sleep early and so do you, but on new year’s you are supposed to do something, at least try to do something to make it feel special, like you tried.

He didn’t kiss you at midnight and he said lower your expectations, you should have learned by now. He said you always invent reasons to be upset about everything. He said can we go to bed. You cried in the bathroom and your hair looked so good for no fucking reason at all. It’s times like that which make you think about moving to miami beach where it is all feral cats and nude bathers and no children and it is so quiet. 

Can you listen for once.

I am listening. You inspect your toes and retrieve a piece of lint from 2006.

I just want you to meet him, your mother says.

Meet who.

For fuck’s sake. He’s your brother. I want you to know him. 

He isn’t my brother, he is Gary’s son.

I love Gary. 



I never had to meet him before.

Would you stop being a dick. 

No, you say. 


You open the door wearing your hot jeans, just because why not wear your hot jeans when you are seeing people, you never see people. The mailman is there.

Hi, you say.

Hi, he says.

He passes you a package that says Duchess on it.

Thanks, you say.

You shake the box and put it with the others. A pile for Duchess you will never give her. You are waiting until your birthday to open them and you hope it’s a puppy.

There is a sharp rap on the door, and you know who that is. You open it and your mom is standing there with her very blonde hair and her no eyebrows and her pretty crow’s feet that say I have laughed harder than you and I did peyote when I was twenty. Behind her stands the most strange thing you have ever seen in your life. It is you, but taller. It is you, with bangs and ears that stick out and no scar from the nose piercing that immediately got infected. It is you, but probably with a penis.

Hi, you say.

Honey, move.


So we can come in, your mom says.

He walks past you and you look at his body and see that he is wearing his hot jeans also.

Are we twins, you ask your mom.

She looks at you like you are insane.

You’re not related.

Not possible, you think. You corner him, and he backs into the counter with his hands up. He is startled, he is doing bull-calming matador sign language. You reach up for his eyes and pull them more open so you can see his irises. That’s you. You know what you look like.

Satin, your mother says. You’re scaring him.

Does he talk, you ask.

When provoked, he says.

His voice sounds like yours and his breath smells like tuna melt, which reminds you of your roommate in university, the skinny one who loved to work out and do math and eat casseroles. You think about kissing him, to see how it would feel.

If you’re going to be antagonistic, we will leave, your mother says.

I’m just curious, you say.

Jordan avoids eye contact with you, because he is afraid of how much you look alike, and how you are clearly and obviously twins. 

Oh christ, your mom says.

She is slapping her jacket pockets, and her crow’s feet look worried.

Left my damn keys in the car. Jordan, do you have them.

Jordan shakes his head and braces himself against the counter. He does boy gymnastics, lifting himself up to sit on the top. With his socked feet dangling, you know the way, the perfect, perfect way to see how very related you are. Your mom tears down the staircase, and lets the building door slam behind her.

You drop to your knees.

Jesus, he yelps.

Do I make you nervous, you ask your twin.

What is the matter with you.

Nothing is the matter with you, but you have the drive. You are a detective in hot jeans. You crawl across the floor flicking your wrists your big eyes turned up towards him, your mouth open like a new baby.

Mom, he calls out.

You sit below his feet, and he looks down at you like you’re a sexy little fox and you are, you really are.

Can I see your feet.


Show me your feet. 


I want to see if they’re like mine.


If you have sex with your brother, does something bad happen, you ask him.

Stepbrother, he says.

Do you love me, you ask him. 

Your mom is standing in the doorway with her very blonde hair and her no eyebrows and her pretty crow’s feet that say I have laughed harder than you and I did peyote when I was twenty and she looks pretty horrified. You smile at her.

Mom, Jordan says.

Time to go, she says to him.


You crouch in the front window and watch as they get in the car. Your mom is frazzled, talking talking talking, tugging at her hair. Sorry, she says probably. Crazy, she says probably. Jordan’s eyes which are your eyes flash as he looks up at you and it is like looking at yourself, it really is. You peel your sock off slow and sexy hot, and press the dry cracked fucked up bare sole to the window. The window shakes, Duchess is upstairs jumping and it vibrates your whole leg like a cellphone on the edge of a bathtub, almost clattering to its early and tragic death. Happy happy happy new year. The car pulls off with a screech, and as he disappears from sight, he opens his little sparrow mouth and says




kari teicher writes fiction, poetry, and complaints. She holds an MFA from the University of Victoria and a BA from the University of King’s College. Her work has appeared in CV2, the Malahat Review, Event, PRISM International, the Ex-Puritan, Room, Canthius, and other magazines. Kari lives in Toronto with no laundry machine. She is at work on her debut novel about Snag, Yukon.