shoeshine boy

the little boy stoops
next to your shoes,
holding a dirty rag
in his hand. why does he want
to clean your shoes
when they are mildewed, stitches coming
loose, seams on the verge of exposing
your feet like a national secret?
your new shoes were a waste
of money; they pinched your toes
until they turned blue. the old shoes begged
to be worn. you look into
the boy’s eyes. they ask
for truth but not mercy. you let him run
his rag over your feet and later
when he is gone, you bend down
to check the state of your shoes,
only to see them clean
like they have never been
used at all.


(I wrote and illustrated a twee poem at lunch today. Click on the picture to make it bigger :-D)

nine is a gypsy
begging for alms
eight is a snowman,
limbless and blank

seven is a sickle
poised to strike
six is a friend
waving goodbye

five is an apple
halved at the core
four is a smoker
leaning on a wall

three is a mouth
asking for a kiss
two is a guy
who had too much
to drink

one is a man


and wan