When you are born you cannot feel the shoes.
You cannot walk. Carried on the air. One day
You take your first steps and your parents
Fear you may fly away. So light, the shoes.
For a few decades you gain traction
And the grain of the ground clings to
Your command on your sure-footed shoes.
Standing still and flexing your calves down
To your ankles shifts the whole world
For someone. Maybe you notice them or maybe
You are in love instead with the surface which
Whispers how it loved you first. Then each year along
The shoes the sole migrates lace-side
And a heaviness drapes and tightens
over the top of your feet while the lightness is
whittled away beneath the arch. Over decades
You go, each higher and harder to crest
Than the last. As you look back the river
Is wearing away the pass between the hills.
People wave from the shore as the mist
Arches down. The way ahead
is rocky and rain riddles
Its cross purpose signals into the soil
But your boots are sturdy and protect
You from what you drop and at times
You must be firm footed because of
What you carry. Sometime later, trudging
Up or down a hill, a level place opens up
And there are people there. They’ve taken
Off their shoes and are sitting on the ground.