Thursday, April 8, 2010

Shopping for School Shoes

The theme of the poetry workshop I am attending this month is "school." This was what I was inspired to write.

Shopping for School Shoes

From the parking lot of Abernathy's--
where Dad waits, listening to the Red Sox,
playing ersatz head coach and umpire both
shouting over the static of the car radio--
Mom and I walk through the back door,
right into the shoe department
with its unctuous wooden panels
and little altars lined with footwear,
the air thick with the incense of leather.

Mr. Adams, priest-like in his dark suit,
cloud-white shirt and shiny black shoes,
greets us, solemnly nodding his head.
Quietly I sit beside my mother.
The worn seat gives a soft whoosh
and the chrome edge cools my shin.
My yearning eyes take in penny loafers,
white Keds sneakers, and -- Oh --
buttery soft slip-ons with ribbon bows.

A fetish chosen, I bow my head in prayer.
"Thou shalt not put false gods before me."
On this, Mother and Mr. Adams agree.
In stocking feet, I step on the metal trap.
My size noted, boxes appear in a stack--
saddle shoes, oxfords, sturdy maryjanes--
my silent pleas effectively ignored.
Other kids will get to wear the pretties;
I take the sacrament of practical shoes.
I hated the shoes my mother made me wear, but then I do have to admit I have had no foot problems into my old age so far. Well, I did break a toe a couple of summers ago and it healed kind of wonky, but I still thank my mom for her early vigilance regarding my foot health.

1 comment:

  1. This could be my story. My problem was I wore women sizes when I was still a little girl and in those days it made a lot of difference. I've always worn very expensive shoes, because I had no choice. Also true, I have no problems with my feet today.

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