The European Shoe

Michael Benedikt

The European Shoe is covered with grass and reed, bound up and wound
    around so that it may slip easily over the wearer's head.
In case you are an aircraft pilot, you must take care that the
    European Shoe does not creep off your foot, and begin to
    make its way carefully across the fusilage.
The European Shoe pressed against the fugitive's nose, preventing it
    from imminent departure.
The European Shoe spends summers in delightful ways. A lady feels its
    subtle and unexpected pressure the length of her decolletage.
    (It winters in pain).
That time I lent you my European Shoe you departed with a look of
    grandeur, and in total disrepair.
The European Shoe knocks on the door of the carefree farmerette. "The
    harvest has been gathered in, ha, ha," it says, moving shyly forth
    along the edge of the couch.
I pointed to the European Shoe. I ate the European Shoe. I married
    the European Shoe.
Tears fall from the eye of the European Shoe as it waves goodbye to us
    from the back balcony of the speeding train...
It helps an old lady, extremely crippled and arthritic, move an
    enormous cornerstone. It invents a watch which, when wound up
    tightly, flies completely to pieces.
It was a simple and dignified ceremony, distinguished for its gales of
    uncontrollable laughter, in which I married the European Shoe.
If it rains, the European Shoe becomes very heavy. I failed to cross
    the river, where thousands of European Shoes lay capsized.
And so we lived alone, we two, the envy of our neighborhood, the
    delight of our lively hordes of children.
I saw a flightful of graceful sparrows heading to distant,
    half-forgotten islands, over the distant seas; and in the midst of
    that annually questing company, I saw the European Shoe.
It never harmed anyone, and yet it never really helped anyone.
Gaily it sets out into the depths of my profoundest closet, to do
    battle with the dusts of summer....
From The Body, published by Wesleyan University Press, 1968. Copyright © 1968 by Michael Benedikt. All rights reserved. Reprinted by permission of the author.

Poems by This Author

Of Seals, and Our Smiles by Michael Benedikt
The last time they did any harm to anyone was probably thousands
Portland Taxis by Michael Benedikt
If were on Mars, and wanted to get back-to-home, I would
The Beef Epitaph by Michael Benedikt
This is what it was: Sometime in the recent but until now unrecorded
To Persuade a Lady Carpe Diem by Michael Benedikt
True, I have always been happy that all the things that are inside

Further Reading

Poems and Shoes
Black Nikes
by Harryette Mullen
Derrick Poem (The Lost World)
by Terrance Hayes
My Shoes
by Charles Simic
New Shoes
by Honor Moore
Red Shoes
by Honor Moore
Red Slippers
by Amy Lowell