by Philip Dacey

I hadn’t used one in years,
had slipped into and out of
this and that without needing help,
but because the new pair of loafers
snugged at the heel I dug out

an old, silver--aluminum, I guess--
shoehorn from the bottom of a drawer
and as if for the first time,
like a shoehorn virgin, inserted it
between shoe and socked heel,

the movement and feel
silky--no, beyond silky,
like that of slipping one’s body
into a body of water, then out of it,
letting the water heal.

And now I’m thinking of other shoehorns,
how a word slides between
us and the thing it names
before that word lifts into silence,
leaving us with the thing itself.

And isn’t this poem a shoehorn,
the way it has slipped in here between
you and me in order to bring us
closer together when it withdraws,
as it does now, at the end of this line?

Copyright 2024 by Red River Review. First Rights Reserved. All other rights revert to the authors.
No work may be reproduced or republished without the express written consent of the author.