Unwanted Shoes

To Jeffrey.
on Jeffrey not wanting to wear his hard, blue shoes.

Funny is how they make me look,
Not as a player or hero, but a worm in a book.
I don't want these hard blue shoes;
They aren't me, they give me the blues.

Not those -- I'm going to wear my sneaks;
They let me run as the lightning streaks.
Off I go, further and further, faster and faster,
Around the corner, into the world vaster and vaster:
Across the tracks and across the highway,
Through the clouds and along the skyway,
I run and run, free and far,
No one to teach, no one to bar.

I zoom down into the greenest, thickest trees,
Alone, among the blustering, growing breeze;
The birds chirp, leaves rustle, and branches snap
Strange noises and at my feet a yawning gap!
Darker and darker, stronger and stronger,
The wind and the rain come longer and longer --
Puddles everywhere, no where dry to step
With feet soaked, all gone is my pep.
Shivering and cold, which way is home?
My sneaks were only good to roam.

I felt a tapping and you know what a treat!
There were my hard blue shoes at my feet!
They were pointing home, crying, "wear me!"
Sneaks in hand, I put them on, saying, "bear me!"
And off, up, up, and away I ran
Mounting upon the wind, far above the land.
My hard blue shoes brought me back
And how I knew what I had lacked:
	Those hard blue shoes that were not me
	Offered me more than ere I could see!

©1990, 1999, John A. Mills
Published in To Taste Life; Poetry Today; ed. Rebecca Mee; p. 74