Boris Gourevitz’s Shoe
(Mac McClain, Mexico City, 1953)
…and so we proceed on into 2012,
broke, looking for stars on mountain nights.
When a moon is added, a blessing.
(from the letters of Mac McClain, 1923-2012)
You lived knowing you were lucky,
you and Boris Gourevitz at art school
a few years after shrapnel ripped his leg,
forcing him to wear a four-inch heel
you couldn’t take your eyes off.
It lived with him, on him
and also had its own life
other forms burbled from:
sun-flecked leaves growing at the arch,
fish swimming over toes,
amoebas lurking in the dark
or rising as dustmotes, electric particles,
the heel itself a stack of bones
echoed by dark slashes in the shade.
Rosiness runs through it
from crimson at toe-joints
to garnet under loopy laces
pastel pinks and oranges
In Mexico you dug clay
out of caves, built a wooden wheel,
began to learn ceramics.
Boris sculpted granite
using chisels, refused to use
pneumatic carving tools.
Boris had been Air Force,
you were Infantry.
At war’s end you took a bus to Grasse,
started walking across France,
erupted into poems.
Decades later, house-bound,
you wrote about a bobcat
chasing a red squirrel
near your front porch,
of Joanie’s horse,
of coyote barks and howls
and the White Leghorn chickens
your grandpa raised, 80 years before,
on a California ranch
you considered paradise.
Of how you thought of me
Both lonely, we found
solace in smoke signals,
Every time the moon
I think of you.
Penelope Moffet’s poetry has been published in Natural Bridge, Permafrost, Levure Litteraire, Truthdig, Pearl, Steam Ticket, Wavelength, The Sow’s Ear Poetry Review and other literary journals. She lives in Southern California. Her second chapbook, It Isn't That They Mean to Kill You, is about to be published by Arroyo Seco Press.
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