A family’s shoes arranged by size, smallest first. The bones of a child’s foot. I write a poem for a man named Mark. He sits on the street and weeps. He’s seen the shoes, seen them filling up with blood. This summer grinds on. We congratulate ourselves, as if we didn’t know one piece of land is worth more than another, one child’s life is worth more than another’s. Death is telegenic and dead children most of all. Explosions branch through the ear and jaw but quiet, please, this game requires the world’s silence. Mark rakes the little bones together, collects the shoes in heaps all over the city. At night when they burn the fires smoke and sputter and then go out, smallest first.
Erica Goss is the Poet Laureate of Los Gatos, CA. She is the author of Wild Place (Finishing Line Press 2012) and Vibrant Words: Ideas and Inspirations for Poets (PushPen Press 2014). She won the 2011 Many Mountains Moving Poetry Contest and was nominated for the Pushcart Prize in 2010 and 2013. Recent work appears in Atticus Review, Lake Effect, The Red Wheelbarrow, Passager, Main Street Rag, Pearl, Rattle, Wild Violet, and Comstock Review.