No Shame by Natalie Meisner

Poem title: No Shame poet name: Natalie Meisner Poem begins: Some nights I have restless dreams  of mother’s shoes: brown leather, soft, sensible  they were work shoes  & and I never remember her in any other kind they gripped the earth, absorbed the sound of her footsteps as she went from one job  to the next, doing all the work  no one else wanted to do  They were sturdy, not cheap,  mother’s shoes, thick in the sole  they had to last a full year,  carry her from door to door  as she wiped the butts of the young & old alike  as she cleaned the houses of those too big  to clean themselves   As over each threshold she stepped  with me in tow, polishing all the way  on the sheer power of  elbow grease & good intentions  my mother made it all shine --  the doors, the butts  each of our days  with the promise of a newly minted dime sleek & gleaming  in a child’s hand   At night, still, when I close my eyes  I see the grace a life can hold  mother’s shoes & mine  a neat line on other people’s mats some welcome they were  work shoes I never remember her  in any other kind & yet  there’s no shame in it, no shame  in work no shame in the  words stitched on her inner eye  or yours or mine  no shame in how she cared  for them & me  end of poem.  Credits: Copyright © Natalie Meisner Natalie Meisner is an award winning playwright, multi-genre author from the South Shore of Nova Scotia.  She is also the current Poet Laureate of Calgary.  Her work often deploys the power of comedy for social change.  BADDIE ONE SHOE (Frontenac) is a collection of odes to renegade women who fight the powers that be with laughter. LEGISLATING LOVE: THE EVERETT KLIPPERT STORY (University of Calgary Press) illuminates the life the last Canadian to be jailed for homosexuality. Her play BOOM BABY about young maritimers working in the oil patch won both the Canadian National & the Alberta Playwriting Award. Her play SPEED DATING FOR SPERM DONORS (Playwright’s Canada Press) non-fiction book Double Pregnant: Two Lesbians Make a Family (Fernwood) and children’s book My Mommy, My Mama My Brother & Me (Nimbus) are all based on the true story of a two-mom, biracial family finding community.  Meisner is a wife and mom to two great boys and a full Professor in the Department of English at Mount Royal University where she works in the areas of creative writing, drama and gender/ sexuality studies. Facebook: Natalie Meisner Twitter: @natalie meisner Instagram: natalie.meisner