September 7, 2009

C.N. Bean

Lost Shoe, 1960s

I wish I had understood
what John the Baptist had meant
about not being worthy
to untie
another’s shoe

when he showed up in new shoes
while we played in a large field
near a river too muddy
to baptize
anyone in

and we grabbed him and held him
until I removed a shoe
which we used as an object
in a game
of keep away

that he grew tired of playing
so someone said get it now
or it goes in the river
and I proved
it could happen.

Once brown water swallowed shoe
we scrambled to get away
and I hid in my bedroom
divorced mother

who earned tips as a waitress
though she never showed despite
priceless shoes that still haunt me
as I see
her son wear old.


C.N. Bean has published several novels and various stories. He is on the English faculty of Virginia Tech.

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