New Shoes

New Shoes

by Chris Biles

I remember walking
around the reservoir
with you, sporting
my new black shoes,
soft leather with white
stripes, hopping
from crack to crack.
I didn’t know about
that saying: “Step
on a crack, break
your Mother’s back.”
I’m glad it’s not true,
otherwise you would
have fallen early on,
collapsed in a halted
heap, damaged, defective,
your knees bloodied
on the knobby concrete
of the pale sidewalk.
And I wouldn’t have
noticed, eyes only
focused on the fresh
black leather landing
on, departing from
the sparkling white
rock. The sun
in its empty blue sky
was too high for me
to see, the water
in its massive, round
basin, surface rippled
by the gentle breeze,
not bright enough
to draw my focus.
You, smiling down
at me in my pigtails,
at me skipping, hopping
in the simplest sort
of happiness, would not
even have stolen my
attention if the worst
had happened. Looking
back, I’m glad that phrase
is nothing close to truth,
is only the product
of children’s ignorance
at a time in their lives
when ignorance is bliss.

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