A fossil in foam, five toes under a formed sole,
preserves the flight of a thousand border treks.
A layer of thermite and blood settles the right pad
of every hastily fled soul, a rusty preservation
of the ash of those who were enflamed.
Their left clod is encased with the dirt of broken roads,
the green of weeks of refuge in the forest from patrols,
the gray movement from villages to mountains and back.
At night they would mend and repair, knotting
broken y’s with twigs, rope threads, thatch,
anything that will last one more day.
The young’s heels are scuffed with the abrasions
left from the playful kicking parents endure
carrying them on their shoulders.
The old heels are full of the bristle
of slow moving donkeys led
by sons and daughters taking turns.
Under the shelter of grey canvas
their trek ends with fresh water,
food, a sturdy cot and new sandals.
The old plastic soles will rest in honor
on the mantle of their new hut,
ready for the next journey.