To Walk Barefoot

The place where the sidewalk ends:
“Here stops safety and convenience,
life and civilization.”

Do not listen.
Do not meekly return
to skyscrapers and shopping
malls but bend, slip off shoes,
slide socks over curved arches,
unleash bare foot to suck new life
from earth never covered
with concrete facade.

Tuck socks into shoes,
leave them at edge
of sun-blistering pavement
as monuments to liberation.
Feel virgin ground kiss
foot’s sole in tender massage.
Sink into coolness of earth
as damp ground oozes
between toes,
mud that has born imprint
of dinosaur and deer,
native peoples and conquerors,
has known embrace of long-dead trees
and claimed them as its own.


Note: The first line of this poem (italicized above) is the final line of the poem “Where the Sidewalk Ends” by Shel Silverstein


©2023 Kenneth W. Arthur