Those mud caked shoes in the garage,
laces studded with tiny burrs, those shoes
traveled to Africa, to Kenya, to Merrueshi.
They strode into the bush at dawn through tall
wet grass past zebra, Maasai giraffe, improbable
bearded wildebeests, Kori bustards. Followed
single file behind Kabole, Sipoi, and Kwenia,
shuka clad warriors with ochered braids
and long, flat-bladed iron lion-killing spears.
Those shoes, LL Bean heavy leather, braided laces,
thick soles once grey now red-brown with the mud
of Merruishi, left their imprint next to lion tracks
on the bank of a waterhole, visited Mama Kakuta’s
village set low in the bush, squat loaf-shaped
mud houses encircled with dry thorny branches.
They sank in the muck of a corral surrounded by
slant-eyed, wattle necked Maasai cows, bleating
goats and laughing twin girls in lavender organdy.
Those shoes stood on the savannah as the sun set red
behind The Chulu Hills and turquoise superb
starlings squabbled over roosts in the acacias.
Muddy and rank they traveled home in a zip-lock
bag, the burrs, thorns, and cow shit undeclared
at customs. Now warped, filled with spider webs
those shoes in the garage rest toe to heel
and dream, dream of Merrueshi, of Kenya, of Africa.
BIO: Suzannah Dalzell lives on Whidbey Island north of Seattle, where she divides her time more or less evenly between land conservation and writing. Her work has appeared in Flyway: Journal of Writing and Environment, Pilgrimage Magazine, EarthSpeak, About Place and Raven Chronicles.
Featured image is of Sipoi in Merrueshi
Photograph by Bronwyn Dexter.