My heart does not wear shoes,
I told her when she asked what color they were.
It’s kind of unhandy sometimes, I said.
I mean, I often step on sharp pointy things
And it isn’t unusual to get insect bites on my instep arches,
And sometimes I stub my toes.
Oh, she said, that’s why I always wear steel-toed boots.
But, I went on, my heart goes barefoot, because I have felt enough
Moss patches to know that
There are some things steel-toed boots don’t cover.
Just think of new summer grass, I said, and cold mountain streams.
Think of beaches and blankets and other bare feet pressed close,
Think of leaf piles and cool tile floors and ladder rungs...
Hmm, she said. Once my shoelaces wear out, maybe I’ll try sandals.
And I watched her walk away heavily.