By Mark Belair

A brown paper bag on the sidewalk
hard by a fence held shoes—it was

torn, you could see into it—and by
the next day the tear had opened to

disclose that they were the shoes
of a man and a woman, the day

following’s development that some
of the sounder castoffs were missing;

then a sudden, lashing, overnight rain
blew the bag away, only wet scraps

left around the hopeless entanglement,
laces loose and drooping, heels snapped

off, soles worn on one side
or cracked.


Two loose sunglass lenses
lie face down—you could

rock them with your toe—
staring at nothing

but cement
while their trashed frames,

struck blind,
face the sun.


Mark Belair’s poems have appeared in numerous journals, including Alabama Literary Review, Atlanta Review, The Cincinnati Review, Harvard Review, Michigan Quarterly Review, Poetry East and The South Carolina Review. His latest collection is Watching Ourselves (Unsolicited Press, 2017). Previous collections include Breathing Room (Aldrich Press, 2015); Night Watch (Finishing Line Press, 2013); While We’re Waiting (Aldrich Press, 2013); and Walk With Me (Parallel Press of the University of Wisconsin at Madison, 2012). He has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize multiple times. Please visit

Comments are closed.