How much luck do you need?
You’re the ones with the big house
and clean hands.
What use are hobnails with
their heads worn down --
rotting laces overstretched by the pull
of early starts?
The new-laid rich brown boards stretch away,
their straight lines crisper than the loamy fields
where my brothers and your horses plough.
We all labour quietly, those beneath us
who mine the blackness, the grubbiest of all.
Our bird-light bodies are dusty inside and out:
ragged breath, ragged trousers.
We groom your vistas, charm your lives.
Your soft calf slippers waltz across the oak.
*Shoes have been concealed in houses to ward off evil or as a good luck charm for hundreds of years. In 2018 a workman’s shoe was found at Langar Hall Nottinghamshire when a floor was being replaced.
Fiona Theokritoff lives in Nottinghamshire, and works as a tutor for a community education organisation. Her work has appeared in Mslexia, The Interpreter’s House, Under the Radar, Ink Sweat and Tears and Pennine Platform. As one half of Wine and Words she performs her work across Nottinghamshire at book festivals and other events. A long time ago, Fiona did a degree in ecology: these days she writes poems about scientific ideas, as well as shoes.