“Before attempting to tie these shoes,”
the old man said, “Let’s consider
the properties of an even number.
Two shoes are simpler than laces.”
This brought problems. How to count?
How would they know when one shoe
became four? On pebbles?
old, blind, deaf, numb
can’t touch molecules of air
which are supposed to make clear
how and when we each became ourselves.
Stated another way
Where do my shunned fingers end, and yours,
Before attempting to tie these shoes,”
he said, releasing freshly
double-knotted angel wings,
“take these nimble fingers, albeit strangers.
Place them on top of mine. We’ll
make our first and last snow angels
not in snow
or over dirt
but within loops
they awaited their flight.
The assignment in my poetry class was to borrow language from an unsuspecting source. I think I took and rearranged a line or two from my bio textbook. A friend at the time read the rough draft and said it was weird how I associated such a young and innocent milestone as tying shoes with death. So I went back and incorporated aeronautical imagery to salvage the connection between youth and age.