The Fossil Soles of Refugees


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.


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