Shoes squish and splutter
across the muddy grass-pressed bank.
With every step my sockless toes are washed
and sprayed like dirty dishes in the sink.
The water squeezed back and forth
recycling remnants of Mr. McDowell’s pond
into a natural green clean machine.
I feel that I can wiggle my toes
inside their slobbering cases
the underside of lace and tongue
of sneaker canvas
lick along the gravel path back home
until they’ve scrubbed their subjects raw and red.
I tear them off.
They smell between soured water
used to scrub off dinner plates
and a cracked bucket from the barn
burrowed in a film of rainwater.
So I arrange them on the brick back porch
to bake beneath the sun’s sizzling scorch.