Then one morning you're tying your shoelaces
And there they are, two more-than-cracks in your favourite shoe
Which couldn't have been there the day before; or are you past
Observing details so close to home? And, yes,
For leather suddenly to give out without warning is unsettling
(Though, on reflection this is how things happen; for how terrifying
To base your philosophy on anticipating surprise and Accident!)
Nevertheless the unease will not confine itself to shoes.

So of course you go back to the bathroom mirror
(Remembering the betrayal in that hotel room
When an unaccustomed arrangement of glass caught you unawares,
Showed you shapes your vanity never knew):
You go back to the mirror and test your courage
On a safe bit of self. Not quite as before but it knows - surely,
Something: the god of biology knows - this can't be replaced
As easily as shoes. So what to do? You vow to take more care of the shoes.

copyright © E A Markham 2007, used by permission of the author


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1To My Mother, The Art Critic

2A Little Ritual

3Don't Talk to Me about Bread

4Hurricane, Volcano, Mass Flight

5Two interludes from John Lewis & Co

6God of the Flat

7The Lamp

8At the Redland Hotel, Stamford Hill

9A Family Gift

10A Mugger’s Game



13Make Love, Not War

14Psalm 151

15A Verandah Ceremony

16Scarves and Benches

17A Politically-Correct Marriage


19Hand and Eye

20So What’s It Like?