New Shoes

She wore them with silk and black sheers,
Her winter legs twin moons under lace– 
New shoes. handmade, gleaming, polished
As a lake at twilight or a new mirror:
Fashioned for men, but cut for a woman.
He wanted her, he said, wearing those shoes.

Dreaming as they measure her shoeless,
A cobbler in Florence, his tape shearing
Her foot, no question a woman
Requires such shoes. Wear them with lace,
Signora, offering brush and polish.
The saddle's rough, but the toe will mirror

All he undoes, her each gesture mirror
His guiding one, as she rises in shoes
Made for holding ground, for polished
Floors, for business in suits and sheers.
When I wear them, she muses, will he unlace
And unravel me? Take have and woman

Me? His hands open her skirt, manning
And mixing until her face is his mirror,
Till he seats and unties her, untangling laces,
Loosening, pulling, prizing back shoe
Edge, cherry insoles flushed, he shears
The tongue from each sweat-polished

Instep. Forthright now, as if polishing,
She fingers his face, pale as a woman’s
In fugitive streetlight, her hands sheer
Contentment, his eyes closed in the mirror
Hers are. Kick, he says, off with the shoes!
She does, fingers through his like lacing,

And his hand breaks from hers, unlaces
Stocking from garter, quick as a polish
Cloth snapping. Take off your shoes,
She says. I want you naked as a woman.
I like hair on shoulders, I like mirrors
When they tangle light. Outside sirens shear

Night as if a swerve of polish could unmirror
Sheer dark, the man and woman whispering
Always wear lace!  Do you like my shoes?

From Red Shoes by Honor Moore, published by W. W. Norton & Company, Inc. Copyright © 2005 by Honor Moore. Reprinted by permission of Honor Moore. All rights reserved.