Janis Greve

Peerless: Janis Greve


Even slippers have the capacity for tears,
a shoe can feel left out.

At night, they’d call from the floor, inconsolable—

the withered face of a pompom,
a loafer caving in at the heel,

wanting some reparation
for being part of a pair,

willing my hands to amend
their sad sack, out-of-step hearts.

Reaching down from my bed,

I’d even them up,
nudge them in line
with their more peerless mate,

assuage their aches with military precision

as my sister’s twin bed
hugged the opposite wall,

her spine curved toward me in rebuke,

sleep’s engine preferring the pretty one,
chugging her softly along.

Janis Greve teaches literature at UMass Amherst, specializing in autobiography, disability studies, and service learning. She has previously published poetry in such places as The Florida Review, New Delta Review, North American Review, Red Eft Review, and The Berkshire Review, among other places.