Monday, March 16, 2020

New Poetry by Tom Barlow

My Last Pair of New Shoes

There was a day when men and women could make a 
living matching feet to shoes. They were magicians 
with a shoe horn and a compliment and by the time 
you left their store you felt sharp and set for a decade 
and now they are a bookmark to Amazon on my tablet 
with the opinions of people who would wear 
shoe boxes if they saw them on a sports star.

I don't expect the idiot internet will even note an 
old man buying his last pair of shoes. I used to 
know my clerk, I used to hand him cash money. Now 
I give promises online for anything I need and boxes 
appear on the stoop and I don't know anybody's name.

So why even bother to dress in the morning? I do so 
to honor the firefighters who will one day carry me out 
feet first; old men are thoughtful that way. When 
the undertaker lays me out, I imagine these soles will 
still shine like a raja's, who never had to take a step out 
of his palanquin lest the ground wound his blessed foot.

And yet, the poor bastard never had Uber Eats, did he? 
Let the driver's leather absorb the punishment of dirt
and rain today, while I kick off my new shoes and enjoy 
my Kung Pao Chicken. Perhaps I'll go out tomorrow, 
or maybe the day after. 

But probably not.

- © Tom Barlow 2020

Tom Barlow is an Ohio poet whose work has appeared in journals including The Stoneboat Literary Journal, Headline Poetry and Press, Voicemail Poetry, Live Nude Poems, Sonic Boom, Harbinger Asylum, Heron Clan, The Remington Review, and Your Daily Poem.

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