My gaze wanders over shoes. Of those,
Of these, of theirs.
It’s a matter of choice: to pare a toe
or the redundant heel
or the skin, creased or tender or rosy
Just like this, I can fit in their shoes, his shoes
(On the rare occasion, they might also be hers)
But I’ve already shaved the lengths of my hair
Is there still any part of me I can give up?
Were I without shoes;
narrow and suffocating,
Would I still find myself roaming the rugged ranges?
Traversing the thick grasslands where dew adorns blades,
My feet hesitant at first, step out,
Stained by muddy gravel.
If only for the sake of moving ahead, getting on with life
What point is there to force myself into unfamiliar shoes?
(Why does the unknown ‘other’ resemble me most?)
fresh wounds graze the coarse leather inner
every step drenched with tears and blood
Why not relax,
Soften the arches of the foot
And let the gravel pierce through
Another layer of dust to fill in the cracks
Shards of glass
Scratch, turns crimson, heals
Melding with the feet
To form winding scars
My eyes lose focus, fog rises here
Subtle, blurry, droplets burning and freezing
Walk, walk, walk
Under a façade of detachment, just walk
(crawl, if necessary)
Till one day, calluses cover my feet
Grey-black, tough, thick skin wrapping every inch
Just the right shoes for me
Just the right … me
We acknowledge the Ngunnawal and Ngambri people, who are the Traditional Custodians of the land on which Woroni, Woroni Radio and Woroni TV are created, edited, published, printed and distributed. We pay our respects to Elders past and present and emerging. We acknowledge that the name Woroni was taken from the Wadi Wadi Nation without permission, and we are striving to do better for future reconciliation.