Gaps Enlarge Until They Overwhelm

From the collection published in 2020, Use All Your Eyes to See.

Gaps Enlarge Until They Overwhelm

The strip center is seven storefronts
all occupied all businesses
struggling. Customers park their cars
out front. I have my choice of spots
the cracked asphalt a skin
fissured by lines of memory fate
history and the foretold future
like reading a work-worn palm
it’s more a story of the past than the future.
I hook a finger in each shoe
right where the Achilles tendon runs
when I am wearing them
these nice leather pumps
that need new heels.
I lead them into the quiet shop
stand them on the counter
before the wall of shelves
unfilled by pairs of the repaired
empty of what used to be
jumbled ranks of shoes
wrapped in brown paper ready for pick-up

the proprietor tells me
he can re-heel my shoes one more time
not because
that’s all they have left in them
but because
it’s all he has left in him.


2 thoughts on “Gaps Enlarge Until They Overwhelm

  1. The sense of everything waning and being moribund in this poem is really poignant. I really like the image of the asphalt as dry, cracked skin.

    • I was thinking of an experience when I was maybe about 21 – I had taken a pair of shoes to be re-heeled at a small store in the shopping center near where I had grown up (I guess I was visiting my parents and decided to get the shoes fixed?) Anyway, when I was young this center was the local place to go and shop – a couple of local department stores, the grocery, pharmacy, a couple of fancy dress shops, a bookstore, the shoe store, and this repair shop, among others. By the time I was doingthis errand, the mall had taken the life out of this place. I am sure now that it has been redeveloped and so on but at the time, it was sad and many empty stores. I felt sad remembering this little incident, and also…that the time of people getting shoes re-heeled has also passed.

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