after Billy Collins’ Forgetfulness
The high heels are the first to go, the pumps and the strappy
numbers, followed by the ballroom shoes no longer tolerable
despite their careful engineering and fine craftsmanship.
Even the forest green corduroy flats, leather-bottomed,
with the cross-strap you sewed to keep them on for salsa or swing,
alas, left your ankles wobbly and your knees bewildered.
Off to the Salvation Army the platforms, wedges, espadrilles,
admittedly fairly worn. Long ago you said goodbye to all the size 7s
from before you were pregnant, the customized inserts that never worked,
the Birkenstocks that now irritate your fallen arches, the cute sandals
that no longer support you. As for the sturdy Keens (not too soft and not too hard),
you still search for the model that did not blister your toes.
To date you’ve dodged your parents’ SAS classics thanks to the folks
at Nike who have kindly morphed their sneakers from lace-ups to Velcro
and now Slip-Ons for those no longer inclined to reach fingers to feet.
Instructed never to dance or walk in the garden barefoot, you still cheat a little
but retired the flip flops that sent you to the pavement. With a vision before you
of terry cloth bedroom slippers with openings cut out for your bunions
(like Anne Bancroft in Home for the Holidays), it is no wonder
you reminisce of years you walked, buoyant in your earth-smelling russet suede
moccasins, fringed at the ankles, no sole, no socks, nothing but a fold of paper towel between feet, smooth hide and the pavement. No worries.