the shoes

strapping on a pair of Birkenstocks
made my whole body feel soothed
smoothed
i felt like winged Hermes
a messenger for the gods

i stood in the beauty way
of comfort
i was cool
i knew i was cool
no damn pardner
better get between me and my Birks!

by my mid-fifties
these Birks
flew me down to Negril Jamaica
made me glide to the beach every morning
heal/toe it to the Roundabout in town
demanding i only eat
natural Jamaican food

they lectured me
on avoiding all tourist places
making me stay at homey Jamaican rooms
even pushing me to talk only to Jamaicans
telling me that’s what you do
if you’re going to be natural
the way they were

after i got over the down dog position
these Birks put me in
i began to be happier
happier than a ripe peach
in your hand

tension rolled off of me

the Birks would tell me stories
of their cousins
helping others
all over the world
as they gently laid me down for naps
or put me to sleep at night

the time the Birks and i
spent in Negril year after year
got longer and longer
a week to two to two and a half
and finally three

never was i happier in any relationship
and i could relax
they would always take the lead

until one day
after the three weeks we spent in Negril
we returned home
to a furious wife
saying i will never get away
with three weeks “abandonment”
(yes! she used just that word)
again

going to my Birks
i explained my sad story
knowing they’d get me out of this
but, suddenly, to my surprise
they had nothing to say
our days of running away together
came to an abrupt stop

i always wondered
if i should have grabbed my Birks
and run for it
to the airport
and away
but
with their silence,
the magic was gone
and i was back
grounded
married

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