Marks on the Sole

by The Cowl Editor on September 26, 2019


Girl in her fall boots

by Sarah McLaughlin ’23

I slide my right foot in, it catches
A hole in the lining, my toe’s stuck inside

“Why don’t you just put them in the trash?”
I shake my head and smile, like it’s a nice joke

Thirteen years old, I picked them out
Thought they looked cool—black leather, gold eyelets

Sturdy, stiff, snug around both calves
Gave me half an inch, maybe, but it made all the difference

Laced up on the first crisp morning of fall
Carrying my steps ’til the first flower blooms

Weathered, worn, they don’t stand up straight
On their own anymore, need my ankles’ support

But the rubber soles, nearly flat, unseen
In return, still manage to hold up my feet

“Want to borrow some shoe polish?”
I turn away, pulling my double knot taut

Polish might cover the stains and scuffs
But only how bandages cover a cut

Laces’ ends frayed like roots of a tree
Clear plastic coating a distant memory

Socks always get wet, skin wrinkled and cold
Then they sit, stuffed with newspaper, by the front door

“Why don’t you want to buy a new pair?”
I look to the price tags, sometimes tempted for change

But each road, each floor, each path I’ve walked
They’ve held me up, half an inch, double knot, snug