The Shoes

When they first came
their mouths agape
their bodies shining
like beetles about to stir

every edge poised
for the multitude of steps
some moment
of leaping not yet taken

their hides stiff
shielding some tenderness
within, warming
to the creak of movement

over penitent steps
or dusty wastes, unyielding
tasks or stony memorials
of waiting

through the heat of day's
quiet middle, every icy
threshold or soggy spring
their heels flush with pavement,

their soles flung aside only
for love, all the tattered
maps of their seams, every
unforgiving rub.

More Poems by Brent Pallas