Top Shelf
by Loretta Diane Walker

Darkness is a shoddy doorman,
allows fatigue to walk through
its knobless frame.

Surprise is a lose chain on the gate of memory,
its slack a wide opening when I touch
the emptiness my Asics filled earlier.

Someone took my shoes!
I remember the suddenness of loss,
how shifty hands can whisk a ball away

from a little girl playing soccer in the street,
how she runs through night’s air chasing it,
fear smudged on her brow.

Jeffry’s eyes are blurred with desire for home;
he skips his brown Coleman’s,
slips on my gray Asics.

I wonder if he can feel:
the imbalance of my stride,
the swollen left foot, the twisted left knee,

my desiderium to run again,
the poems written in my ankles?
Here is my life stretched between his heel and toes.

Maybe this is forgiveness?
To confuse the soles, oblivious
of others transgressions, differences.

Maybe this is compassion?
To feel the shape of someone else’s chi
and mistake that quivering heart as your own.

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