Gris-Gris, an online journal of literature, culture & the arts

Value

by L.H.

 

She gave it to Sam
She didn’t see the worth
She had a collection already

He gave it to Juan
He didn’t care for it
It wasn’t the new brand

Raquel tossed them back
They weren’t the color pink
And then they came to me

I gave them to Paul
Oh boy did he smile
His eyes became two shiny pearls
Glistening through the darkness of his life
Happy to receive
A pair of off brand shoes
From “El Norte”

He examined them
Tracing the stitches with his fingers
Hands with more splinters than skin
From cutting lena earlier
He glanced at their soles
The grip better than on his shoes

Which Anthony gave him two summers ago

The laces a thousand compact strings
Tied perfectly in another bow
That stood in his way
His feet yearned to get in
The Converse sneakers
Clumsily, he put them on and stood

Awkwardly checking his reflection
In the broken mirror
Reclining on the concrete wall

The light peered through the window
Signaling a day full of labor

Was about to start
But for half a second
The sun caught his smile
This time it was not tearful eyes
That did most of the talking
Today four words told the story
“Estos pa’ mi papa”

Still smiling
He gave the gift I gave him
For his 17th birthday
To mi tio Chon