poem index

New Shoes

Honor Moore
She wore them with silk and black sheers,
Her winter legs twin moons under lace– 
New shoes. handmade, gleaming, polished
As a lake at twilight or a new mirror:
Fashioned for men, but cut for a woman.
He wanted her, he said, wearing those shoes.

Dreaming as they measure her shoeless,
A cobbler in Florence, his tape shearing
Her foot, no question a woman
Requires such shoes. Wear them with lace,
Signora, offering brush and polish.
The saddle's rough, but the toe will mirror

All he undoes, her each gesture mirror
His guiding one, as she rises in shoes
Made for holding ground, for polished
Floors, for business in suits and sheers.
When I wear them, she muses, will he unlace
And unravel me? Take have and woman

Me? His hands open her skirt, manning
And mixing until her face is his mirror,
Till he seats and unties her, untangling laces,
Loosening, pulling, prizing back shoe
Edge, cherry insoles flushed, he shears
The tongue from each sweat-polished

Instep. Forthright now, as if polishing,
She fingers his face, pale as a woman's
In fugitive streetlight, her hands sheer
Contentment, his eyes closed in the mirror
Hers are. Kick, he says, off with the shoes!
She does, fingers through his like lacing,

And his hand breaks from hers, unlaces
Stocking from garter, quick as a polish
Cloth snapping. Take off your shoes,
She says. I want you naked as a woman.
I like hair on shoulders, I like mirrors
When they tangle light. Outside sirens shear

Night as if a swerve of polish could unmirror
Sheer dark, the man and woman whispering
Always wear lace!  Do you like my shoes?

From Red Shoes by Honor Moore, published by W.W. Norton & Company, Inc. Copyright © 2005 by Honor Moore. Reprinted by permission of Honor Moore. All rights reserved.

Honor Moore

by this poet

A plane tree, leaves green as if polished, 
the reddened tips of fruit trees, a stand
of cypress, and through the blackened green, 
a yellow field, slant of roof. Nearer, 
the castle gate, pale brick flecked with stone
like cream with nutmeg or cinnamon,  
and climbing, vermilion of roses.

As swallows shriek
all that autumn you step from the train

as if something were burning

something is burning

running across the green grass bare feet

that day death was only

what we lose in fall comes back in spring

something is burning

from the train you climb

smoke between the skyscrapers

Paris was so
The great poet came to me in a dream, walking toward me in a house
drenched with August light. It was late afternoon and he was old,

past a hundred, but virile, fit,leonine.  I loved that my seducer
had lived more than a century and a quarter.  What difference

does age make?  We began to talk about the making