Mother made a point of reminding
me to polish my shoes, she said
untidy shoes are the mark
of a poor man, one to be avoided.
I noticed she never wore shoes
that needed polish, never had wax
and brush in hand, and when her shoes
showed wear they were replaced.
I learned early not to talk back
to her, the penalty too stiff so I
never asked why any reasonable
person would be staring at my shoes.