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Saturday, December 27, 2008


by Earl J. Wilcox

after Robert Frost

When I see white sneakers swinging
from low hanging wires, I like to
think some kid grew tired of wearing
them and heaved them high, or was
celebrating a first kiss, maybe the
baseball coach named him the team’s
catcher. You must have seen these
shoes here and there in the hood, even
in unlikely places. But a boy with only
one pair of shoes summer and winter
holds on to them, would never throw
away his sneakers just when he got
them broke in. Gangs do that, I am told—
toss shoes up on wires---signaling a
nearby hangout, where members do
whatever. But I was going to say
before reality broke in that I wish
instead the shoes were a boy’s whose
graffiti scuffed soles, smudged tongue,
prayed for someone to draw his name
from an office pool ---size, color,
brand don’t matter—and would send
new sneakers to that boy who tossed
the old, paper thin pair up high, a new
ornament dangling from a wire, a
burnished, bright star at Christmas.

Earl J. Wilcox writes about aging, baseball, literary icons, politics, and southern culture. His work appears in more than two dozen journals; he is a regular contributor to The New Verse News.