Summer Notes: 7 – Shoeless

Discalced order of children
running aground barefoot,
the beach sand so hot we
flip flopped like fish out of
the water close at hand.

When you did not know
what a thing was,
you gave it a name,
then you knew it.

Flip-flops went everywhere,
named for their sound,
rubber sole held to the front
of the foot with a cross strap
and thong between hallux
(big toe, thumb of the foot)
and pointer toe (the dowsing
rod used to test the ocean
water temperature), causing
the heel (no ankle strap) to stay
put (flopped)
then flip up (flip),
slapping the bottom
of the heel,
also went
by other names.

My father called those shoes
“come-alongs,” the body
perhaps a pulled
object. Imagine thinking
of the body as winch
and ratchet for pulling
and hoisting, but that
was his world.
They were also named
“go aheads,” polite,
easy-going, relaxed shoes.

Thongs, shower shoes,
simple sandals, flip-flops,
like so many other things
we used to use (and do),
and may still use (and do),
are not good for you.

Better, it turns out,
to go barefoot, risking
the stubbed toe, the bee
sting, the rusted nail,
the beach tar, the hot
sand, loving the cool
green grass, the ice
plant you could pick
and squeeze the jelly
juice over your callouses.