January 6, 2011
By J.I. Kleinberg
2008 Walk Award
Sandburg saw the sneaking fogs
on little cats, but oh these dogs
—this gravity, this weighty reign
of splays and spurs and spreading pain.
Oh where is swift, and strong and fleet
and “light and graceful on her feet”?
Painted nails for sandaled walks?
No more! Now swathed in shoes and socks.
These hammered toes, collapsing arch
that make a hobble of a march
—little piggie, bruised or broken,
words of running long unspoken.
skis and skates forbidden fruit;
pathetic now, this sad rendition
of once-a-perfect first position.
Below a former well-turned ankle,
noisome fungus comes to rankle;
plantar’s warts, oh bunion, corn,
the stubbings that these toes have borne!
Aching instep, wounded tarsal,
Achilles’ bane, this damaged parcel.
Feet. But damn, they’re sorry things
for those of us who don’t have wings.