Re-lacing

I know my shoes need re-lacing
when I’ve gotten so accustomed
to being who and where I am
that I stop seeing things,
that I stop caring about who I’m not,
and those who aren’t me.

Some days I just have to come full stop
and take off my shoes
and remove my socks
and try on somebody else’s boots.

I lace on the delicate black dress shoes
of those poor, poor widows
who waited and waited
but their husbands never came home.
So they put on new shoes,
new work shoes,
and set their hearts on metal-mode
and made their life about living.
No more normal.
No more loving.

Or maybe I should try on
the soggy trench boots
that reek enough to make me hurl
and remember the living rot they contained,
the blood that pumped through the souls
of their feet as they pounded
the rhythm of fear into
soft sinking mud.

And before I pull on my own socks and shoes again
to cover these cold wet feet,
I will try on a child’s shoes,
a size too small, and feeling
a thousand too small
for all the weight they carry.
Trying so hard to be a man
when all the real ones are gone.
Working so long,
sleeping so little,
not crying at all.

Then back to my warm socks,
my bright and ordinary world.
Time to start again
and hope that by loving
and fearing and crying,
I can make more of the world
for those who will live
and will laugh tomorrow.

The End

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