You insisted my mother buy Clarke’s Start-rites
condemning my sisters to
and remember the hand stitched
calf skin Brevitt sandals
we wore all through university?
An investment — you were right.
When they fell apart you were quite crest-fallen
and it nearly broke my heart.
For teaching I bought court shoes
but you required extra wide Van Dals
at £35 per foot to accommodate our ample toes.
On Friday afternoons we went for reflexology
a necessity you insisted — not a luxury.
All next day you smelled of mint and neroli.
And I never once, well maybe once,
squeezed you into pointy-toed high heels
but you wouldn’t walk in them let alone dance.
We never danced. And over the years you persuaded me
sexy shoes were not really our thing, you and me,
we valued care and comfort above frivolity,
we needed nor height nor embellishment
only room to spread — body and sole you said
and as if w i d t h was an accomplishment in itself
we did just that.
But recently I don’t much like your attitude
I find you lacking in gratitude.
Ingrown toenail to the left of me
bunion to the right
all my pampering made a mockery!
You’re making me spend on you again
three times last month and even the podiatrist said Enough!
No charge. I’d paid in pain!
Believe me if I could
walk away from this relationship
right now I would
but you know that’s impossible
so you treat me like a doormat.
Oh, I know you’re not the worst of feet.
I should be grateful to have feet at all!
But ever since the day I put on shoes, you’ve both been trouble.
C’mon! We’re getting older now.
Can’t you just be kind?
Fit into normal shoes sometime before I lose my mind?