Red slippers in a shop-window; and outside in the street, flaws of gray, windy sleet!
Behind the polished glass the slippers hang in long threads of red,
festooning from the ceiling like stalactites of blood,
flooding the eyes of passers-by with dripping color,
jamming their crimson reflections against the windows of cabs and tram-cars,
screaming their claret and salmon into the teeth of the sleet,
plopping their little round maroon lights upon the tops of umbrellas.
The row of white, sparkling shop-fronts is gashed and bleeding, it bleeds red slippers.
They spout under the electric light, fluid and fluctuating, a hot rain—and freeze again
to red slippers, myriadly multiplied in the mirror side of the window.
They balance upon arched insteps like springing bridges of crimson lacquer;
they swing up over curved heels like whirling tanagers sucked in a wind-pocket;
they flatten out, heelless, like July ponds, flared and burnished by red rockets.
Snap, snap, they are cracker sparks of scarlet in the white, monotonous block of shops.
They plunge the clangor of billions of vermilion trumpets into the crowd outside,
and echo in faint rose over the pavement.
People hurry by, for these are only shoes, and in a window farther down is a big lotus bud
of cardboard, whose petals open every few minutes and reveal a wax doll,
with staring bead eyes and flaxen hair, lolling awkwardly in its flower chair.
One has often seen shoes, but whoever saw a cardboard lotus bud before?
The flaws of gray, windy sleet beat on the shop-window
where there are only red slippers.
This poem is in the public domain.