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On Buying a Second Pair of Birkenstocks
It’s true that we had a number
of good summers together.
Four-and-a-half, to be precise,
though it’s reductive to count.
We spent casual afternoons in parks
where I remarked on which leaves
were turning crimson prematurely.
You might have taken this as a sign.
Trees spent their leaves and we spent
our afternoons, and then both were gone.
There were also many bicycle rides
along the water, and a trip to Italy
where you pressed your tired soles
against the cool, rounded edges
of cobblestones and I didn’t
appreciate you. I turned, often,
to cheaper options, praising
crude function over form
and our previous commitment.
Though we were luckier than most,
and we were grateful,
and it would be unkind to suggest
that I threw you away, that your familiarity
meant so little to me, that I had
any option but to pursue my options.
This was not thoughtless. This was strategic.
I didn’t care for you as I should have,
though my initial joy and pride were great.
And we have been down this road before,
as the saying goes. We have been down
When your flaws became too obvious
to ignore, I saw an opportunity to begin
again, anew, with a new pair of sandals.
They gave me only their smooth leather, their sweet compliancy.
It was a few weeks of resistance—hesitation in response to something new—
and then acquiescence. And the second pair
became the first choice.