Pulling your high-tops from under the couch,
I stroke the leather, white and soft,
cracked, and worn that way
from the fit of your foot over time
and the heat from your body
soaking through.
I caress the tongue of your shoe
and remember nights of delights,
caressed by the tongue of you.
Like rugged, waterproof leather,
only the best, top of the line for you,
I feel again the touch
of your rough, enduring skin
on the butter-soft leather skin of me,
and know that my tears will not soak in,
but run, like rain off a duck, forming
tiny rivers of pain, coursing down
to the gathering pool in the small of your back.

Reaching, straining, pulling things from under the bed–
long forgotten debris swathed in dust bunny coats,
I’m thinking of shoes,
yours and mine, mingled under there all this time,
and that just like you,
so many of your shoes are lacking sole (soul).
But unlike you,
there is hope for them, for
they can be RE-soled
to once again be whole.
But you will still be nothing more
than a soul-less empty heel,
forever searching for that someone else
like me, another cobbler-of-the-heart,
to retool, resole, and retread
your running shoes so you may
flee, escape, take flight
like a semi truck
flinging off melted rubber all along the road.
Nothing left but the scorched and burning stench
of what we had as you top the hill
and disappear from sight.

— Elaine Pedersen ©


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