Sunday, June 25, 2023

The Long Shoehorn

It’s just a half-meter strip of metal
With a grippy handle.

It’s something you’ve likely never
Encountered, unless, for instance,

You were recovering from a stroke
And in occupational therapy,

Where perhaps it was part of retraining
Yourself to dress yourself on your own.

You use it to slide your feet into shoes
You can’t bend over enough to reach.

It’s the epitome of a specialty tool, but
Without the odd romance of kitchen tools

Or specialty woodworking tools similarly
Rare and single functioned.

That someone would manufacture
And sell long shoehorns as—what,

Medical supplies? Orthopedic
Shoe supplies?—hints at the vast

Numerosity of current civilization.
How many people must there be

Before a niche like this exists? Tools,
In fact, are excellent guides to the density

Of a culture, of a population,
Any ecosystem of functions fitting niches.

So you should admire this oddity,
This lyrical device, this lengthy shoehorn.

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