Why I Don't Like Wearing Shoes
by Sarah Glen
When we came around the corner slowed to 50 and hit the potholes you asked
if I remembered it.
When it rained we'd ride our bikes fast here. Coming in for hot chocolate
cheeks pink wet bottoms backs of sweat pants stiff with dried mud. In the
summer we would hunt salamanders behind your house. Under rocks moss through
the creek we tramped around in brown green stained running shoes teetering
along slick dark fallen logs pretending we were spies. Rolling and smoking
leaf cigarettes. Looking for the hidden treasure that a mad man on Copper
Mountain buried years before he died in this forest.
Then there were sleepovers. Making tuna casseroles eating frozen pepperoni
sleeping close under homemade knitted afghans and laughing until tears until
we were told we were keeping the baby up. So we'd whisper. Laugh until we
couldn't breathe. Sleep late and eat toast with chocolate sauce for
breakfast lunch in the dusty backseat of the yellow car your dad said he was
After there were times in the park. Walking loudly (to scare bears)
scrambling up dry hills past the pools above the rock cliffs. Kissing
silently behind green frost fences (that stopped us from falling in). Being
late for dinner. Watching eagles dive.
But now it's quiet (sometimes I can here birds dogs chickens mewing gravel
spitting after a Ford F150 goes by). It seemed louder before. When we'd wait
for the bus when it was still dark and the road only had two tracks down the
middle (snow plows don't make it out that often). When we'd go for walks out
by the highway and talk about boys school dances explaining why because we
didn't want to say over the telephone parents too close.
And now a pack of red yellow blue bundled others stand near the ditch
waiting. The line of backpacks cuts into the thick heavy mud in smushy
pools. Straps on backs streaked wet dark in chalk outlines (like rulers)
when it dries and everyone else knows after (when bags are dropped under
desks) they live too far out to ride a bike in alone.
And when you shut your door I stayed looking out where the hammock had to be
tied four times to crackly curved trees after winter piles wet packed snow.
Peering over smudged automatic glass (where my fingers nose pale lip tips
used to squish).
Because here over the glass (if I bend my body crinkly like an elbow straw)
I can see my scarred knees dirty feet again.
I stopped scrubbing these chalk outlines when I left.
Sarah Glen responds to our fragile requests. So far.