The Shoes

I transcribe this to honor one of our own who has made her decision to move on to greener pastures. I respect her immensely and my heart hurts that she felt the need to exit the platform stage left, but I appreciate all the conversations we have had. She is a True AIESECer, one who embodies the power of the network.

These words are etched on a black piece of foamboard with a gold pen, a sepia picture of old shoes at the top, a starfield about, laminated and hanging in our office.

Huddled together beneath graffiti painted walls
They watch without seeing
Some missing shoelaces, others missing soles
They’re caked with the dirt of their journeys
One can only imagine what could be found
If they traced the mud of the heels
Back through time
Past the concrete and brick
And the forests and trees
Past the glass and the bones
Back to the cellophane wrapped smiles
Of the customers who bought them
But here they lie
Squeezed inch by inch by destiny’s curse
Bound to one another
As tight as the threads are sown
Their final resting place could be
This cluttered sidewalk overlooking the space of Atlanta
Or the garbage pail of the restaurant next door
They know no difference
Yet their lifetime would have mattered somehow
If only because they were worn.

– Missy Shields
26 April 2002