Featured Writer Lorna Crozier


The shoe the old dog dropped on the step at dusk.  Last week it was a dead cat, and all night you worried that he’d killed it. He’s always liked cats, but his mind is slipping. Some mornings you have to remind him it’s time to eat. He’s a brown Lab grown grey around the muzzle. His right hip shows signs of dysplasia. At least suspecting him of murder is not an issue when the victim is a shoe.

It’s a man’s left shoe, black, with a built-up sole, as if the owner is a 1950s’ child of polio. Perhaps he’s not lame, just short, and the partner of this shoe is also heightened. It resembles an army boot with the top sliced off, the leather sole swollen in sympathy for the foot infected in the trenches. You can’t imagine anyone in town this might belong to. Should you put up a sign in the post office? You slip your own foot into it, think “walk a mile,” etcetera. You clump down the hall, feeling like a fool, the dog barking without getting up. Your new gait makes you so ungainly you feel you’ve acquired a new kind of grace.

Even though it’s bad luck to leave a shoe on a table, you put the shoe on the table—it looks quite comfy there, though unlikely—then open the door to let the dog out. Time to pee, you say, and watch him trudge, one hip lower than the other, across the yard. You try to remember how old he is. Two hours later he’s not home, dark has fallen, and you’re waiting for the other shoe to drop.


About the writer:
An Officer of the Order of Canada, Lorna Crozier has been acknowledged for her contributions to Canadian literature, her teaching and her mentoring with five honourary doctorates, most recently from McGill and Simon Fraser Universities. Her books have received numerous national awards, including the Governor-General’s Award for Poetry. The Globe and Mail declared The Book of Marvels: A Compendium of Everyday Things one of its Top 100 Books of the Year, and Amazon chose her memoir as one of the 100 books you should read in your lifetime. A Professor Emerita at the University of Victoria, she has performed for Queen Elizabeth II and has read her poetry, which has been translated into several languages, on every continent except Antarctica. Her latest books are The Wrong Cat and The Wild in You, a collaboration with photographer Ian McAllister. She lives on Vancouver Island with writer Patrick Lane and two cats who love to garden.

Image: “Untitled” by Rizwan Ali/Rizwan On Mars Sydney, Australia. Fine art photograph. No technical information specified.  2016. By permission.