6/365: Finding the Map


You, with the dirty knuckles
and the ripped coat sleeve
and the off-colour jokes
and the wife who left you —
god, she was an angry woman, what a mystery —
I have watched your feet every day for weeks,
and I have noticed that your tired black shoes
match the rubber black flooring
with the pressed-in lines that lead to the door,
and I see your distracted attention,
and I hear you talk about all the great things you never did
because of difficult women,
but I continue to stare at those large feet beneath your rolled bluejeans.
They have been on the edge of a thought I have been chasing,
and I have memorized the frayed edges of those laces
in an attempt to follow it home,
and then, yesterday, just as my eyes traced over the last end
where a bit of the plastic grommet perseveres,
I noticed that your feet touch the ground like every foot everywhere.
The world at your feet takes you to all places —
the pharmacy, your musty apartment,
the dollar store with the cheap detergent —
and your laces map the pattern,
pattern the map of the world that is also at my feet,
and my shoes are tracing patterns
off the bus and down the street and into the world
where there is no choice I cannot make.

I am writing one poem every day in 2016, and I am using the hashtag #365poems to document my progress.