Still the Feet

His socks were white

and young
like frolicking lambs of spring
like light on rain
like owl down

made orderly and strong
by the efficient hum of machinery
the patient weft of time applied
to make a small room welcoming
dry and clean, a decorous home
for oft-trodden feet
to hide brightly from the world

you can almost imagine them
down at ground level
reading a novel, switching on the side-table lamp
as evening falls, as the shoe sunsets
the light of distant fluorescent bulbs —
settling in to a leather armchair
the well-balanced soul
the directional tow

of forward motion
as ordinary as existence.

His socks were black
then, extended in stature
and deepened in shadow
argyle flickering in and out
with stripes, a stoplight polka-dot,
then back to black

and noble,
like the dark side of a redwood trunk
like a suitcoat shoulder-shifted below stained glass
like moonless night

the anchor to a dazzling world of light
and language, a career careening
through personalities and time
and a thousand shifting shining movements
of the face, the hands, the heart

while in the sock-room
still the feet, pleasantly forgotten
reach chapter twelve
and turn another page, couched
in midnight.