Thursday, 28 January 2021

American‌ ‌Life‌ ‌in‌ ‌Poetry:‌ ‌A‌ ‌Donation‌ ‌of‌ ‌Shoes‌ ‌ ‌

Ted‌ ‌Kooser.‌ ‌Photo‌ ‌credit:‌ ‌UNL‌ ‌Publications‌ ‌and‌ ‌Photography.‌ ‌

 ‌Time‌ ‌to‌ ‌clean‌ ‌out‌ ‌a‌ ‌closet‌ ‌and‌ ‌make‌ ‌room‌ ‌for‌ ‌whatever‌ ‌2021‌ ‌will‌ ‌bring‌ ‌us!‌ ‌ ‌

I‌ ‌hope‌ ‌every‌ ‌one‌ ‌of‌ ‌you‌ ‌has‌ ‌a‌ ‌new‌ ‌year‌ ‌that’s‌ ‌much‌ ‌better‌ ‌and‌ ‌happier‌ ‌than‌ ‌the‌ ‌one‌ ‌we’re‌ ‌all‌ ‌shoving‌ ‌behind.‌ ‌ ‌

This‌ ‌is‌ ‌the‌ ‌last‌ ‌column‌ ‌I’ll‌ ‌have‌ ‌a‌ ‌part‌ ‌in,‌ ‌and‌ ‌I’ve‌ ‌written‌ ‌a‌ ‌little‌ ‌goodbye‌ ‌poem‌ ‌for‌ ‌you.‌ ‌ ‌

Happy‌ ‌New‌ ‌Year!‌ ‌

A‌ ‌Donation‌ ‌of‌ ‌Shoes‌ ‌

They’re‌ ‌on‌ ‌their‌ ‌way‌ ‌to‌ ‌Goodwill‌ ‌
in‌ ‌Destiny’s‌ ‌old‌ ‌cardboard‌ ‌carton,‌ ‌
the‌ ‌flaps‌ ‌folded‌ ‌inside,‌ ‌lending‌ ‌its‌ ‌
scuffed‌ ‌shoulders‌ ‌a‌ ‌look‌ ‌of‌ ‌authority,‌ ‌
the‌ ‌box‌ ‌knowing‌ ‌the‌ ‌route,‌ ‌the‌ ‌shoes‌ ‌
badly‌ ‌lost‌ ‌and‌ ‌confused,‌ ‌their‌ ‌toes‌ ‌
starting‌ ‌in‌ ‌every‌ ‌direction‌ ‌at‌ ‌once,‌ ‌
clambering‌ ‌over‌ ‌each‌ ‌other,‌ ‌laces‌ ‌
entangled—wingtip,‌ ‌slip-on,‌ ‌work-‌ ‌
boot‌ ‌and‌ ‌sneaker—every‌ ‌pair‌ ‌
trying‌ ‌to‌ ‌get‌ ‌one‌ ‌last,‌ ‌lingering‌ ‌look‌ ‌
at‌ ‌the‌ ‌closet‌ ‌before‌ ‌settling‌ ‌down‌ ‌
into‌ ‌their‌ ‌smell.‌ ‌What’s‌ ‌the‌ ‌saddest‌ ‌
about‌ ‌this‌ ‌is‌ ‌seeing‌ ‌those‌ ‌insoles‌ ‌
floating‌ ‌up‌ ‌naked,‌ ‌pale‌ ‌flounders‌ ‌
beat‌ ‌flat‌ ‌and‌ ‌then‌ ‌dried,‌ ‌no‌ ‌longer‌ ‌
to‌ ‌swim‌ ‌through‌ ‌the‌ ‌ocean‌ ‌of‌ ‌days,‌ ‌
led‌ ‌on‌ ‌by‌ ‌plump‌ ‌dolphins‌ ‌of‌ ‌feet.‌ ‌


American‌ ‌Life‌ ‌in‌ ‌Poetry‌ ‌does‌ ‌not‌ ‌accept‌ ‌unsolicited‌ ‌manuscripts.‌ ‌It‌ ‌is‌ ‌made‌ ‌possible‌ ‌by‌ ‌The‌ ‌Poetry‌ ‌Foundation,‌ ‌publisher‌ ‌of‌ ‌Poetry‌ ‌magazine.‌ ‌It‌ ‌is‌ ‌also‌ ‌supported‌ ‌by‌ ‌the‌ ‌Department‌ ‌of‌ ‌English‌ ‌at‌ ‌the‌ ‌University‌ ‌of‌ ‌Nebraska,‌ ‌Lincoln.‌ ‌Poem‌ ‌copyright‌ ‌©2020‌ ‌by‌ ‌Ted‌ ‌Kooser,‌ ‌"A‌ ‌Donation‌ ‌of‌ ‌Shoes."‌ ‌Poem‌ ‌reprinted‌ ‌by‌ ‌permission‌ ‌of‌ ‌Ted‌ ‌Kooser.‌ ‌

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