Mother, You Need Shoes

Art by Rob Goldstein

Mother, You Need Shoes

I would not have noticed her if our subway car had not cleared of people
at Lexington Avenue.

She wore a tattered stocking cap.

She removed it and stuffed it into her jacket.

She held a grimy white bag between her legs.

She reached into it and pulled out half a doughnut.

That was when I noticed her shoes.

The uppers had split from the soles; her feet were wrapped
in newspaper and rags.

I thought, Mother, you need shoes.

I wondered if forty dollars would do.

I looked up and watched her untangle a lock of matted grey hair.

She reached into her bag and found a bobby pin.

She styled the loosened lock of hair into a bun

I had forty dollars.

But it was for vitamins; specifically, anti-oxidants.

My body is rusting faster than a wet Ford.

The crows feet around my eyes whispered: erase…

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