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Saturday, December 24, 2016

Tom the Cobbler


At first the odor
accosts us
It's a small mess
on the inside
of his shop
and in that instant
its reputation is sealed
in the affirmative

Tom can't retire
because he's too busy
fixing shoes
selling shoes
selling everything
needed for shoes
little colored jars
of this or that wax
cans of this or that spray
hundreds of shoes strings
of every variety

This isn't a mall
where neatness counts
Here the only attraction
is Tom himself
with his spectacular
white hair and mustache
What he does
for a new customer
he's never met
someone with a simple fix
he starts on it right away
while the world enters
through the same door
to pick up a purse
that needed a new zipper
a better one
Someone ogles
colored shoes
An old man with a walker
sits near the entrance
unable to get further in
But how does Tom repair shoes
and care for customers
at the same time

The smell is a clue
elves
there's no mistaking it
the elves of the old shoemaker
have taken up residence
to help Tom
in Iowa City

Elves it is said
smell of gingerbread
perhaps
but careful discernment
inside the nose
picks up notes
of fruitcake
and rum babas
An elf on rum babas
is pitiful
Ask it to resole a shoe
and you're likely
to get a billfold back
Fruitcake munching elves
are mean
sometimes vicious
Tom can't let them
greet customers
They refused to read
anything
by Dale Carnegie
If elves eat gingerbread
they will slobber
all over you expressing
love of mankind
Eyes roll every time

Tom is patient and wise
always watching elves
for the potential
of such a mistake
It's why he's so friendly
with his customers
That way the elves
don't help
in the front
And nobody likes
an elf who paws
and slobbers


Barry G. Wick

1 comment:

Castanea_d said...

So that explains it. Elves!!!
I patronize this shoe shop, and you have described it marvelously.