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I must have been only six at the time, my sister, Poppy, two
I must have wondered why
Poppy decided to look at the parked cars in the parking lot
rather than walk the Stone Arch Bridge.
My mom must have stayed behind with Poppy,
leaving only my dad, my aunt, and myself to see it fall.
We must have walked for a little while,
because it happened
around the middle of the bridge.
It must have been humid that summer,
because my feet must have been a little slippery, a little sweaty.
I must have stepped up on
the brick wall below the handrail
and rested my feet between the rail and the bricks.
I must have stared up at Saint Anthony Falls in awe
and must have heard an ice cream truck calling me.
I must have stepped down from that ledge,
felt my shoe slide off,
and watched it tumble down,
an orange falling into a faucet stream,
the river.
And I must have stretched my hand out,
a “No!” from me, a sad yes lingering in my brain.
I must have looked at my feet that night,
rough and callused from a day without my right shoe.
And someone down in Louisiana
must have seen an orange Croc oat by on the Mississippi,
a bucket full of mystery,
and wondered.

Without You, My Right Shoe Isaac Walsh
Isaac Walsh, 10 Minneapolis, Minnesota