by Samantha Kalla
Dad’s shoes swallow salt water. Loafers stitched
in Taiwan, bought in Ohio, choke on sea.
Stubby toes still curl into the wear,
I watch you slip them on and yank
a tomato from the garden; sneak a camouflaged beer.
Throw me over your soft shoulder,
sack of potatoes, swig of PBR
Mom rolls her eyes and I’m seven
or I’m twenty-seven calling
out your name to nobody,
watching you slip them on, exhale
into my bike tire, sift your pocket
for a Marlboro Light.
I’ve been trying to tell you
I found them -- your favorite shoes
in the Atlantic & some kids would get
their ass whooped for burying their dad’s
shoes in the sand & thank you
for laughing when I couldn’t find
hidden treasure, for leaving them, so
long after you’re gone
grown woman, I can meet you there,
curl my stubby toes into the memories,
feel you throw me over your soft shoulder,
sack of potatoes sinking further into the sand.
About the Author
Samantha is a second-year graduate student studying molecular biology, finding inspiration for poetry through her experimental work and research. She live in the San Francisco Bay Area with her husband and their giant but lovable St. Bernard.