Downpours

We all have a pair of shoes that call for downpours

the whitest pair

the ones that track in the most from the street

 

Remember my shoes made of white canvas

You’d stand in them and we were the same shadow

The sole was ripping from the seams

still your foot never touched the ground

 

Remember them thrown under the bed

in a creaking of boards

Their mouth swallowed the evening’s mites

and took in my naked foot

to head for breakfast

 

Remember how it scared you when old age and grime

hit their fabric

It’s an epidemic – you’d think –

spreading across my foot toward yours

and it all infects us

Grime won’t muddy if memory is clean

old age won’t corrode if memory’s young

what kills isn’t death

what kills is forgetting

So remember washing those shoes

would invite rain and puddle water

to seep into where the sole separated from the seams

 

Remember jumping to flee the storm

and clearing up in the sheds

Your feet stood on tiptoes on my shoes

so a kiss might exist under our umbrella

Remember

today it’s raining

and it’s nighttime

and you’re not with me

We’ll be distance

we’ll grow old

but our age will always be the one we had in our last memory

 

I rescue my shoes when you exiled them to the closet

They run against yours and no one was alone

laid still below yours and both of us were safe and sound

because waters won’t rot if memory is clean

nights won’t smudge if memory’s clear

you already know what kills

remember

today it’s raining

and it’s nighttime

and you’re far away

and you don’t name me

like my shoes

name downpours. 

 

 

Translation of Olivia Lott


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