Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Purple Shoelaces

She is
hiding behind black everything—
hair protruding from a black hoodie,
covering all but one eye.

Headphones are pumping sounds
into the darkly shrouded form;
I see the wires that must lead to an iPod
—hidden somewhere.

Staring down, so as not to
greet the oft-dismissing world, she walks
with slow purpose, counting the steps,
within the walls
where she keeps her fear of rejection.

She looks at me, despite herself,
as if she doesn’t want to be seen, but does—
and she can’t hide it
soon enough
that she is happy
to be noticed.

Hers eyes are pools of wounded gray,
deep, and soulful.
And I keep looking—eyes tell stories,
and dreams,
and everyone should have one.

Then I spot them—her black Converse shoes
have purple shoelaces,
and this bespeaks
the truth.
She doesn’t want to be disregarded.
is just waiting
until it’s safe
to be seen.

I smile, at them, at her;
and she grins, lifts her chin,
and walks on.
While it occurs to me
we’re all
wearing purple shoelaces.

Copyright 2012 Jennifer Wagner


  1. hiding is just waiting until its safe to be seen....really nice easy to see her...and i know her as well....we all are wearing those shoelaces....smiles...

    1. Knew you would know her too Brian...thanks very much.

  2. I like the discovery of her wounded gray eyes ~

    Nice turn of words from indifference to spotting something we like, as in purple shoelaces ~

    Great to see you~

    1. I'm glad you liked that piece Heaven. Great to see you too!

  3. "Hiding is just waiting until it is safe to be seen." -- I like that and it rings so true. Enjoyed this poem very much. Your portrait of this young woman is well drawn, and we all probably know someone like her. (Or...we can just look down at our own feet! )

  4. I think I'll rush out and buy a pair at once! I enjoyed this portrait/narrative.

    1. Pick me up some while you're at it? Glad you enjoyed the piece, thank you.

  5. smiles...i'm barefoot right now but i feel like i could use some purple shoe laces..smiles...think many have this..hiding but still want to be seen and glad when someone notices and thankful for a smile..glad you saw her..

    1. Smiling at your comment...I'm barefoot too, but I do think I need some of those shoelaces. Thanks Claudia.

  6. Oh! Hiding is just waiting until it's safe to be seen. What a brilliant line. And we're all wearing purple shoelaces. Excellent writing here.

    1. Thank you very much--so appreciate your compliments!

  7. Like when you recognize that she wants to be seen when it's safe. Nicely penned.

  8. Aww...I'm glad you shared smiles... she wanted to be accepted for who she is and, you didn't disappoint. Sometimes I deliberately smile at strangers just to see if they'll smile back, usually, they do :)
    What a genuinely heartwarming, lovely read.

    1. I like your "test"--glad it usually gets a favorable response. Thanks for your lovely comment.

  9. Insightful, empathetic and kind. I love words that care.

    1. Thanks Doodles! I thought you may be out of "bloggerland"...good to see you.

  10. Compassion, empathy, and a great write!

  11. you bring her to life so beautifully. purple's a good choice--and my answer to most questions that have yet to be asked.

  12. This poem contains such strong imagery. I can see this girl. Beautiful!


Thank you for your thoughts!