Pulling on my shoes I feel the loneliness Of the tongue and heel. The leather wants to break down, To lie in earth and return to the pasture. The shoelaces want to loosen themselves From the eyelets and return from nylon threads To ancestral oil. My father shoveled coal Through basement windows And drove the dump truck home Late on winter nights. Snow and coal dust Melted from the cuffs of his pants As he fell asleep at the table. Then he Woke and speechless went into the dark Room, shutting the door. My mother mopped the puddles And wrung the melting crystals into a pail, Which she emptied into the drain. This morning a winter ant Crosses the kitchen floor. I remember that it’s his day, too, As I stare down at him From my chair at the table. He’s lucky. It’s January, but He’s warm and his legs are strong — He has his whole life Before him, disappearing Under the molding, through The dark and into the wall.