“The Freedom of a Single Boot” by Taylor Graham

Taylor Graham


For instance this one, left behind
when its partner tumbled
from the pickup truck on a cross-
country trip, or slipped
under a motel bed—who remembers
whatever happened to the right foot’s
leather? Hope springs eternal
as boot-strings. I’ve kept the left
boot just in case some day
I find its mate
in a back corner of the closet,

A single boot doesn’t have to do
anything—not pace its half
of a ten-mile hike,
nor prop the trick left knee
atop a boulder to admire the view,
which is always an excuse
to catch one’s breath. No more
must it jab the clutch
on the long drive home.
It doesn’t have to represent
anything—not fortitude
nor tedium, the one-foot-in-front-
of-the-other way of getting
through a problem.

Simple cowhide with a vibram sole,
it’s not ashamed of its scuffs,
nor must it call them
memories: isn’t that
reason enough to keep
a single boot?

from Rattle #20, Winter 2003

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