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10 the minnesota review Hunt Hawkins My Wife's Shoes Chasing my errant cat one sloppy afternoon, I unexpectedly find myself crawling into my wife's closet, all alien and pink. Cat gone. Nightgowns tickling my neck. I start to leave, then spot her aluminum shoerack like a huge immigrant ship entering New York harbor, the sturdy, honest couples lining the decks. So many, so many! How will I ever clothe and feed them? All my favorites are here: her saddle shoes from the eighth grade, the blue sling-backs she wore on our first date in San Francisco, the red pumps I removed the night of the big snow, innocently to inquire which piggy had roast beef. Ah, these shoes are as fertile as foreigners, but they are so appallingly ignorant, simple peasants come to the land of division of labor. They have no skills. They will have to become maids. They will end up like Sacco and Vanzetti. I think of my own closet. Maybe the cat has gone there. It is a humble closet, only three pairs of shoes, probably all missing me. But this pink closet is a tenement. How will I ever satisfy my wife's lust for shoes? They are not mere footcoverings. They have a religious significance like Veronica's handkerchief, promising relief from this tawdry life. How I wish I could put myself in them, but they are too small. Besides, they are the wrong color. Where do they come from anyway? Over the seas. I picture a crew of small men, singing in German, wearing stocking caps. They trudge over the tundra, rounding up tiny herds of shoe-shaped animals. Then they patiently shuck the skins. It is very difficult for us to envision, but that is the fault of the division of labor which has kept us apart for so long. 11 hawkins I am a poet; my job is to imagine things. I am never supposed to touch leather. The shoehunters may seem like foreigners, but under the skin we are all really brothers and sisters. This is proven by the exchange of commodities. Hush, I think my wife is coming. She mustn't find me like this in her closet. Here is my poem. I think it is finished. Quick! Give me your shoes! ...


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