While Sitting in Church, I Learn to Tie My Shoes
Nylon laces slither numbly between my fingers
to the sound of mothers hushing, swaying, their bucket-hatted babies.
Coils of whitish cord elude my unwieldy fingers,
preferring to loll feebly across the tan-flecked tile.
But today— a bow. She curtsies to me,
extending spindly arms outward, humbled.
I tie my shoes, crouching raccoon-like beside the kneeler
biting my lip, among the stale Cheerios & grass clippings
dragged inside against their will, & conspiring
with the Sunday dew to squawk against the tile in protest.
Perched between pews, I trace the spidery wood-grains
& study the trouser-wrinkles where my father’s knee is bent.
The priest has words like shoelaces: they swirl & slide
in long, fragile chains around between & through my ears
while my father leads my finger along the lines of a hymn,
accenting each period & comma with an extra, comic, jab.