by Kathleen Kraft
I’m helping Emma untie a stack of knots
in her Converse as the smell of rubber wafts up.
I could be her mother—the black, brown eyes
that seem to ask, the almost smile.
There’s only one scuff on the toe—
I wanted high tops briefly when I was a kid,
when they were popular, but remember my mother
saying “Not enough arch support, Kath.”
Emma giggles as we chat about stubborn triple knots,
I tell her her foot is nearly as big as mine and hold mine up.
She gives me a toothy grin. Converse—To reverse
the order of things and potentially remain true.
Or did the makers believe the shoe conversed easily
with the court? Later I search. The first 9 Google entries
are ads. And then: Converse, South Carolina,
where a vacant home was destroyed in a fire—
I take a quick detour to the HUD site—
let my eyes skim: abandoned properties…
measuring impact… turning liabilities into assets.
And now I’m antsy, far away from Emma and my mother—
I chose not to have that child so many years ago—
I go back, to one of the Converse portals,
look at the women’s rubber hi-rise—a mix of Victorian
and punk in ugly primary colors—
So much to reconcile and all of it pointing to a converse
no longer true and somehow mine.