shoes: my friend, Viva, had a large number of shoes, upwards of 40 pairs. Myself 12 max.
But in the end it came down to a pair of velvet slippers. Are slippers the soul of shoes?
Slippers for Viva
At the last your feet swelled and their shape
changed to a caricature of a foot. How
strangely arched, it seemed, the foot
you lifted from your only fit, the slipper.
All you could wear: slippers befitting a Mandarin
in maroon velvet with embroidered uppers
the widest size for your stiff high arch
to slide into, without a chance of straightening.
Racks and racks of shoes you possessed
boots and stilettos, sandals light as air
buckles, straps, suede, satin. Surely they
could have assembled into one hybrid pair
fit for your poor stiff foot that seemed
like a dinosaur trying to enter a building
the ceiling too low for the neck, the tail knocking
over the walls, the head like your pointing big toe?
© Elizabeth Smither 2017
Elizabeth Smither’s newest collection, Night Horse, will be published by AUP in June.