Old Soles

Published DECEMBER 8, 2014 MAGGIERUCH.com

You were saddle-stitched brown leather:
A little worn,
A little dirty,
Weathered perfectly.
I brought you home,
Tried you on,
Tracing fingers along your seams
As your instep caressed my soles.
A few steps-
Like walking on a cloud-
And I floated for days.
Then lost you.
Were you under my bed?
In my closet?
Did I leave you out in the rain?
Missing the tanned calf-skin,
And creases where your toes bent,
I tried on another.
Crisp.
New.
Unaged.
Unbroken.
My heel rubbed in all the wrong places,
Toes pinched in black vinyl,
Ankles felt constricted.
I knew
I had found the perfect fit in you.

And so I searched
High and low
To find you again.
I dug through linen closets,
Looked under my bed,
Paced circles-
Miles and miles-
Until I could be
In your familiar grasp once more.
But something was off.
Was it the time spent without you?
Was the pursuit all of the appeal?
Was it an expectation unmet?

I walked you until I walked no more
I talked to you,
Caressing and kneading brown leather.
I traced those familiar lines
Trying to memorize each one.
I felt worn and callused hide
And held onto you
Until, falling to pieces, you slipped away.
No cobbler could repair
No seamstress would resew
What my careless nature
Unbound.
No apology
No begging
No tears
Would bring such a perfect fit again.

And so now I lie in pieces,
Wishing for the familiarity of yesterdays
And last weeks
And last months.
I try to hold you together in places
Where time and wear failed us.
But old soles
Are slow to mend
If ever…
And here I stand
Not sure where to go
What to do
With cracked and bloodied feet
Searching for the perfect fit,
For saddle-stitched brown leather:
A little worn,
A little dirty,
Weathered perfectly.

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