My shoes are sturdy and black, ball-peen crinkled,
square-toed with brick-red stitching. A seam atop the instep
fashionable like lady stockings of the swing band era,
Buckled, not laced, for slip-on ease
Adorned and secure in my shoes.
Garage kept at first, hard to break in
My shoes were Sunday church shoes,
Going to theatre shoes,
visiting Daisy Jean on a Sunday afternoon shoes.
In time, my broke-in shoes, broke in to the contours of my feet,
broke in to the rhythm of my walk,
. . . to a crevice in my heart.
Thirty years earlier my shoes might have been Saturday night at the movies shoes,
sexy, going out, discotheque shoes,
my getting lucky shoes.
Best to have come later for better purposing.
Fourteen calendar years old, my shoes, 56 in marching shoe years.
I find my shoes now, more than broke in,
Stepping fast into their drying up years.
One night, leaving the theatre, uppers ripping away from their “souls,” flapping along Penn Avenue like clown shoes.
My shoes . . . slipping into the winter of their steppage.
Emergency surgery cannot save them,
A fusion will not bind together fiber devoid of life juice.
And so, my church shoes
my visiting shoes
theatre and movie shoes
rugged, manly, sexy shoes
weary and spent shoes
. . . the shoes of my life,
and now . . . my writing shoes.