On shoes and suicide

For every sad, solitary shoe
that I see scuffed and faded,
slowly breaking down
on the side of the road,
I know there is a story
of something left unfinished,
of things left unsaid

I want to travel the streets
to collect these shoes
so that I might
feel the impressions of distant feet
and the steps taken in the life of another

I hold no dreams
of finding a mated pair,
the lost sole of the right
as I hold tightly to the left

People don’t leave behind the perfect companion,
only the imperfect rest in the dirt
wondering where their path diverged from the other
as strangers forever pass by

I know these forgotten shoes hold stories,
the miles they have travelled recorded
in each step,
nicks and stains in leather
marking the occasion

A single misstep can alter the course
of any journey over time
or distance
as if the two were somehow
different when plans are made
or the destination reached.

Steps taken in a life,
each one going some place,
whether those steps led
to the mailbox only finding bills to go unpaid
or a delivery room witnessing a newborn’s first screams

Gathering shoes is a weary passion,
you never know what stories will be found
as some paths we walk lead to happiness
while others lead us to ruin
and the shoes bear silent witness
to those moments,
the uncommunicated thoughts,
that often change romance into tragedy

There is a story in each of my shoes
their perspectives vary,
sometimes by strides,
and silently they travel with me,
each step leaving an impression
even if the waves wash them away

And that is all I want,
to leave an impression

Knowing that time will erase even that
but those moments are scared,
even if short lived
so I gather shoes
to preserve the stories I will never know

Miles travelled are held in the soles
each step marked in rubber
and still many more are left to be seen
as long as tread remains
at ball and heel

My sole wears thin
and even though I am not a shoe,
the miles I have travelled
have taken their toll
and I know I have many more miles to travel

These shoes I wear,
that embrace the parts of me
that carry the weight of all that I am,
are not destined to rest
along the side of the road

But they will leave a trail there,
of impression in rubber
as they record the story
of our shared life

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