“Will did not know what to say, since it would not be useful for him to embrace her slippers, and tell her that he would die for her . . . it was clear that she required nothing of the sort. . .” –Middlemarch, George Eliot
Yet why not embrace her slippers?
Why not risk the possibility
Of saliva trickling upon satin
Or tapestry or whatever blessed
Shoe covering one might wear
In a 19th century novel weighing
In at 4.2 pounds, 852 pages?
The world could use more
Slippers being embraced, more
Saliva drops on barely-covered toes,
More hyperbolic speech
That could be true—it could
Be true, my darlings! I am
Not proposing a wave of podophilia,
Nor would I want emotion
To override one’s waking, mindful life.
Yet . . . yet . . . what is the harm
In embracing a slipper now and then?
Even if not required, oh hell,
Especially if not required, one
Should have one’s slipper
Embraced at least a time or two
In the course of a desperate life.
And more importantly perhaps,
One should experience that lightning
Flash of deathly love intent
That brings forth both darkness
And beauty unto these plains,
Obliterating all the daily, close,
Maddening nothing that presses
In the walls of the world
Like thunder herding the fearful
To the familiar and the common.