“Stampede Of Presence” by Vicki Batkin

His spirit dances into my semi-conscious mind,
while I’m under the influence of the needles.
I feel peace.
“Did you relax?” she says,
as she enters the room,
to extract the thin sharp stainless steel from my body
Yes, I reply with my bones feeling heavy.
Gingerly, I sit up,
and notice a bright orange shoe-horn,
clinging to the coat-hanger.
It’s the only color
in this small, pale room.
And, it’s over a foot long.
I did not notice that when I arrived.
Through the dust from the stampede,
I wipe my eyes and look again.
He used a shoe-horn.
and long.
“For Christ-sake, use a shoe-horn”
He would say, over and over
“You can’t ruin the integrity of the shoe”
“And the sock will suffer as well”.
Of course, I thought,
wearing a baby’s brain
with an old man’s heart.
I don’t need knowledge
when I found wisdom
Sometimes Good is better than Clever
I promise to never ruin the integrity of the shoe
I promise the sock will not suffer
I promise to use a shoe-horn.
If you promise to keep showing up

Vicki Batkin

© 2011


  1. lkthayer · February 5, 2011

    Oh Vicki, there is so much love in this stark, simple poem, about other things besides socks…it takes my breath away. You are a great writer & poet & we grew to love your Dad so much thru your writing…he lives on thru your words. Thank you. Lisa

  2. Roz Levine · February 5, 2011

    Your dad would be so proud of this poem. You showed up to give all of us a glimpse of such strong love between father and daughter.
    A most beautiful, poignant and funny piece.

  3. Alexis Rhone Fancher · February 5, 2011

    I hear your sorrow,
    I feel your pain.
    But in your heart,
    He lives again.

    God Bless You and your Beloved Dad.

  4. matthew · February 5, 2011

    What a great photo. And an even better, love letter to your Dad. No one leaves really they are always here. They are just not physically here. There is nothing like losing a parent. There is no wrong way to be, just allow.

  5. Scent of my heart · February 5, 2011

    My first time here and from the comments understood the photo is of you and your father, how lovely … And your words are really greatly selected. It was a sweet visit! Thanks for the poem!

  6. therese · February 5, 2011

    vicki, so sorry to hear of your loss. you captured your love.

    best, therese

  7. Jean · February 9, 2011

    Vicki, what a wonderful tribute to your Dad. Thank you for sharing your journey and love with us in such a moving way.

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