April 11, 2022

Poetry Showcase: Shoemaker's Wife, By Shannon Cuthbert


I sat by the fire countless nights,
stitching shoes as you slept
and dreaming of home...

Editor's Note: Originally published in EC's "The Elves and the Shoemaker Issue," today's Poetry Showcase is a unique take on the classic tale where sacrifice and love is a magic all its own...

Nights like this,
I stay up just to watch you sleep,
to watch the flecks of flame that
scatter on your skin.
You, a leather man,
with soft dreams you buried
under layers of stone,
until even I,
a child still with long hair and silk scarves
could not set you free.
For a while I couldn’t find you at all,
upturning chairs
and peering through glass to get to you,
your mind trapped deep,
a winged bird locked
somewhere behind your eyes.
Nothing to lose, I grew a new skin,
let my hands harden,
back knobbed as a birch.
I sat by the fire countless nights,
stitching shoes as you slept
and dreaming of home.
Silver-heeled shoes I’d never wear,
built for those free to leave life behind.
Slowly, we shifted into place,
morning bringing its own escape:
silver-heeled shoes,
the promise of elves,
each let you wake with a new kind of hope,
carried you back to me piece by piece.
Asleep, you glow now,
all see-through skin,
your stone face smoothed by shifting tides.
I touch my own, let its crags sing
of my travels,
of rivers and gorges unknown.
Shannon Cuthbert's poems have appeared in Red Booth Review, The Montucky Review, Poetry Quarterly, and Emerge Literary Journal, among others. Based in Brooklyn, she loves cats, folklore, and rainy days, and any situation that combines all three.

Cover: Amanda Bergloff

Twitter @AmandaBergloff

Instagram: amandabergloff 


Lynden Wade said...

Beautiful! I particularly like "the flecks of flame that
scatter on your skin."

HulderMN said...

I love this idea that the elves bring renewal of, and through, dreams! Beautifully crafted, with the scents of late night and soft leather...and sil'vry moonlight.