Best of the Net 2007  

Shoes 1943

The movement of shoes and trains, each step and whistle
woodwind sirens of death, each splits
breath in two. Hiding in a barn as a little girl,
fear of being found or jostled out
you lightly opened the shed, let the stars
who slept with you, in.
What drives you are all brittle moments
when you know yourself from the enemy opposite.
You cup your hand around your hearts 4 by 6 shelter,
dreaming of shoes you saw a smiling lady wear
on her way to meet her lover.
And as the womanís soles went down in mud
she loosened her puff-sleeved dress
that fell to dust, her body like lines of silver
train, her hair untamed sweat and she didnít care.
She twirled in her black suede platforms with the open toe.
She had such a time, licked her lips to life.
You sleep standing up in the dress
your mother made you, loose threads
work into your skin. Below the mottled
mewling tracks, hold out by Shema, hold
yourself tight. Weightless girl, donít move, donít dance
the skyís too piebald to see you were here,
your pretty shoes lost in snow.
No one is naming you; I will name your shoes.
Maryjane, T-strap, Rounded Toe. Theyíre sailing
down the gaunt hill like cabbage, their leather,
spiked hides of chronicle, of clouds, crack
on soft ice theyíve traveled
with the toll-takers mist for breath.

-Nanette Rayman-Rivera (Chantarelle's Notebook)