There you were –

hiding on the clearance rack

in Marshall’s

feather-light black and white

Merrells marked down to $15


my mother would have snagged

you and bragged about you

for weeks on end


I picked you up and cradled you

twisted you

curved you

bent you  

tried you on

considered you carefully –

your ability to cooperate with

all the other players

no laces

full foot support

and – most importantly

covered toes for crowded

places where people squeeze


pack tightly together

inhale, exhale

the shared air

of every other passenger

unknowing carriers


“Want to explore Europe on a dime?”


you jumped straight out of the box

hugged my feet

like rescued puppies

held on tightly for the ride

for the next two weeks’

whirlwind world traveling


I chose you – and only you

the solitary pair

for my minimalist-minded

one-carry-on journey


you carried me


through airports

on night trains

on streetcars

on subways

on buses

on boats

and on foot

down city streets

you brought me face to face

with Big Ben

Westminster Abby

the Eiffel tower

the Brandenburg gate

the Colosseum

the Duomo

and the recently charred Notre Dame

that never struck us as fiery foreshadowing


you gripped your heels against the edge

of the Trevi Fountain as we

stood together

tossed one single coin


right hand over left shoulder

to guarantee a return visit

to these breathtaking streets


and never once

in all our adventures

did we stop and think,

“better savor every sight

of this window on the world

before it is forever changed” 


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