On Contemplating Birkenstocks at 48

Serious poems lately, and it's sandal-ish weather! This man would definitely wear Birks!

On Contemplating Birkenstocks at 48

Going shoeless in the Pacific Northwest
is not always practical,
threats of banana slugs
and wet mossy driveways.
Clogs are sometimes just too cloddy.
My Nike slides co-opted from the
family jocks are not cutting it,
nothing goes with black plastic and a white swish,
I am not Kobe Bryant or a swim coach.

It seemed time when my middle schooler asked for a pair,
she of Pink sweatshirts and Forever 21 brands,
when 17 year olds are wearing them with thong panties.
Birkenstocks have become cool again.
My vegan high schooler forages for them at Goodwill,
but then she makes boxy boy’s t-shirts
worn with wool socks and
skinny jeans look runway worthy.
She could be on their website,
like the hip young millenials with coltish bodies
and lustrous locks, not a tie-dye,
beer belly or yellow toenail in sight.
I panic I am suddenly too old to wear them.

When you let your hair go gray as I am doing,
you have to compensate in another area-
get a nose ring or attach acrylic nails,
or do you?
At almost fifty my own mum
paired long sundresses with unshaven legs,
wore Birkenstock’s in size ten and then eleven.
Bra off, a glass of wine in her hand
as she made dinner, barefoot or Birked
I loved her for that,
never wanted a coiffed and cuffed mother,
she was and is a beauty.
How am I just discovering jute and cork,
latex milk from the rubber tree!?
What might happen on a natural footbed?!

One of my favorite life coaches
is a Brit who teaches tai chi,
most of his wisdom can be
distilled to the concept of
“being in the back of your body,”
(although he pronounces it “boody”).
He suggests our wrenching and wrangling,
our diseases and dis-ease
come from trying to make things happen.
Rather be the king or queen of your life,
relax upon your throne,
let the universe bring its riches to you,
all by not leaning forward.

The first time I tried on my
mellow-fun-go-with-the-flow partner’s well
worn flip flops, I was rocked onto my heels,
my god, he is in the back! I marveled.
The Birkenstock website touts
"a deep heel cup
and recreating the experience of
walking on a gently yielding surface,"
at mid life, I am ready.