Only Pair

It is my shoes that hide my dirty secrets:
feet even Jesus would turn his nose at.

Oh yes, my feet have secrets–
like where I've gone and how long I've been lost,
who I've seen and who I've left
bleeding on the streetside,
and the smells of every encounter since–
cigarette butts
and leftovers from other bad habits,
a collection of dirty hindsights,
a piece of what is perhaps over-chewed gum,
and a stench
that hints at unwashed socks.

Dirty, smelly, trashy
shoes. My-momma-always-said
shoes–

what momma don't know
won't hurt her. Momma don't know

what happened when I took off my shoes
and left them at your door,

took off my heart-sleeves
and left them in a jar,

took off your clothes
and left

or so I'm told the story goes.

Still it seems to me
that it was you who took off
because no one can outrun you
when you're wearing shoes.

At night I enter a home that does not welcome me
and release my feet from their burdens;
were it that I could shake you off
like a pair of sneakers,
I would say good riddance
to my smelly old shoes–my feet
will smell better in something new–
and shake-shake, kick-kick
send them flying
to a quiet funeral behind the couch.

Tomorrow morning,
I will find them there
after a frantic search.