This is an excerpt from The Last Thing You Get To Know by Betty Davis Miller.


There are usually shoes on the porch,
any color, depending on the season,
left in exchange for garden clogs or
black rubber boots—
wide, the leather soft,
bulging at the point of the big toe joint
for they have been shaped to accommodate bunions.
When I open the back door
that Tuesday there they are,
one tipped over
so the sole shows.
The rake leans against the back stoop
and that naughty Peter Rabbit
she told us about when we were children
nibbles the lettuce a few yards away.

This Tuesday, a year later
I see her rising from the garden
no feet, no shoes,
I see her legs extending from the ankles
out of the dirt.  She is growing strong.
She is tall, her waist thick,
the children dropped one by one like seeds.
She is tall and thick
like a tree.  I imagine trunks and branches
and stars caught in leaves,
moss in locks like hair.
It is as if no North Wind
can topple such a structure.
Years are nothing but manure, nutrients.
I don’t know where her shoes are.