Monday, March 29, 2021

Little Brown Feet

 A poem for my not-so-wee-anymore wee one.

Little Brown Feet

 “Little brown feet.”

Your lips curve like a crescent moon when I say it,

framed by dimples that punctuate your cheeks

like quotation marks. Your smile

speaks to me as I skim one finger along

the inner arch of your foot, tracing the well-worn

path to your heel. Your skin is tanned

like leather, soft but durable. It strikes

a balance between tender and hardened.


Yours are the feet of a young traveler.

They’ve touched concrete, gravel, stone,

caressed shredded rubber at the playground

where we played when Daddy was away.

They’ve kissed dirt, sand, and snow,

slid and shuffled across the hardwood of our kitchen floor,

been heated by the sun-soaked nylon

of the trampoline as you bounce with your brothers,

and frozen by frosted grass on cold winter mornings.

(You don’t like shoes, and I don’t like arguing.)

Some soles aren’t meant to be contained.


Those little brown feet have danced with my spirit

and tiptoed into my heart.


“Mama, those are my feet,

my little brown feet. Like chocolate,” you laugh

as your vocabulary bursts open like a chrysalis

at the peak of spring. Your wings are spreading,

and I witness it from the closest distance you allow,

a casual observer awed by rapid evolution.

“Yes,” I agree, my head nodding under the weight

of nostalgia as I note how big those feet are becoming.

“Like chocolate.” The words taste bittersweet.


“Do you want me to carry you?”

We walk along the battered country road,

your (still somewhat) little hand cupped perfectly inside mine

like a Russian tea doll. You blithely skip

over potholes, dodge rocks, navigate the banked asphalt

like a seasoned explorer. You look ahead

to where Daddy and your big brothers press onward.

“No, Mama,” you say, “I can do it.”

You release my hand and surge forward.


I watch as your (maybe not so) little

brown feet slap the pavement, carrying you

away from me. I feel my lips pull upward,

lifting at the heaviness in my heart as I marvel at how

feet so little can leave footprints so large.