When I was a child
I got exactly two pairs of shoes a year
In September I was fit sturdy second-hand leather oxfords
to keep my feet and stride
within the patterns that pomp and poverty’s circumstance proscribed;
And gladly every spring
I shed them, forever forgotten,
for a new pair of canvas running shoes. Like Bradbury’s protaganist
I could jump higher
on the wings of my new spring shoes.
I remember when you were my new spring shoes
and your kisses freed me from all the leather restraints of being
other than just me
and together we ran faster
and jumped higher
and loved betterUntil we wore each other like a favorite pair
each stain and fray adding to the story and the charm
And love and life were nothing we could ever throw away.
But the soles of summer shoes aren’t meant to last
And the silver wheel turns
And the days grow chill
And Mother mortality crept in while we slept.
In winter cold I lay alone, bereft, I wept.
So many shoes since then.
I see them on the store shelf, attractive to the eye,
Glossy, glittery, strappy pumps with stylish designer names
Boots of softest calf
Rocket science running shoes
Lightweight professional slip-ons
Calling out to me to try them, buy them
And sometimes they almost fit
and sometimes I do buy them
and I married again after you died
and my toes turn inward with the years of leather shaping
but my happiest times for heart and feet
are still running barefoot throught the grass
remembering that summer with you.