7,000 Pairs of Shoes

I remember once
standing in a museum
at the edge of pain – that deep well of dark
that hides so well,
and has tattered edges
that threaten to crumble –
all metaphorically, of course –

a mountain of suitcases,

all that was left of some
ghosts of Auschwitz or Dachau;
Treblinka, perhaps,
or some other abyss
of unallegorical
non-metaphorical pain.

A reminder,
a quiet chant:
Never Again.

So you’ll excuse me, I pray,
my reaction today
from all of those shoes
laid out so neatly,
in all those very straight lines:
as lifeless as luggage,
an abyss of pain.

A reminder
silent accusation:
The journey continues.
The march must go on.
Not one more shoe
Not ever again.

Never again is Now.

This poem was first published at the author’s blog. It is a response to the recent action in which 7,000 pairs of shoes were placed on the White House lawn, representing the thousands of children killed by gun violence since the Sandy Hook massacre in 2012.


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