Footprints

Footprints followed daddy
from the barn
up the cement steps and
into the sun porch
where no sun ever crept
and always there was darkness and shadows
and a chalkboard
I could never get to
Heavy
mud and shit and hay chaff
from barn boots
they followed him

Footprints followed momma
never dirty
or wet
pick your feet straight up
and put them straight down
and you won’t get your feet wet
how does that work?
never dirty or wet
just the sound
of shoes
tramped down in the back
slip slapping
whatever fell beneath them

Footprints through my childhood
white nurse’s shoes
from the county home
barn boots empty
after the cornpicker accident
barn boots, sneakers and kids shoes
from everyone coming home
from the horses and pigs and cows
and tinkerbell
tarry footprints
mine and bugger’s
on warm summer days
cleaned with gas till they burned
and we did it again
because nothing feels as amazing as warm tar on naked feet
do you remember
all of the footprints
that have touched your mind

Footprints followed my babies
grassy socks
dirty cleats
dirty wet naked feet
boots and taxi cab shoes
and sandals full of sand
— funny how that works
they followed them
through the house
through the years
through my memories
and now

Footprints wiped
on clean white pages
wipe your memories please
so they don’t track my clean white pages
but they do
they always do
mark the passing of time
footprints
where my mind wipes the memories
to see
what “Rorschach” tests
are left behind
the memories
far more indelible than the dirt
that was left behind
imprinted always
on my soul

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