I am reading the New York Times
and it is a story about shoes

the shoes left behind
where they are removed before prayer
at the Kabul mosque
after the suicide bomber.

some of the owners of the shoes
have died, others
were injured, some ran so fast
and have not come back
to take them home,

this symbol of their survival.

The writer tells us
about green boys sneakers,
a young girls shoes with sparkling buckles,
worn shoes, cracked sandals, navy loafers
fresh polished for worship,
one hundred forty-five pair more.

I am grateful to him
in a damaged kind of way
because I will never again read about
a suicide bomber
as some random article

(not as dramatic
as those who weaponize cars).

I will always know about the shoes

left by those
who no longer leave footprints.

with thanks to Mujib Mashal, author of the article”A Mosque was Bombed. What to Do with the Shoes Left Behind,” September 4, 2017

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4 Responses to Shoes

  1. Jane Fisler Hoffman says:

    This sadly reminds me of the heap of shoes in the holocaust museum in DC . Hate is hate, against anyone and when violent leaves empty shoes and broken hearts.

  2. New Zealand is also finding meaning in empty shoes. A suicide shoe roadshow was launched at the top of the North Island Aug 28 – shoes of suicide victims, 579 pairs, (lives lost in past year) are set out in public spaces for public reflection, this will end on the steps of Parliament Sept 10 (International Suicide Prevention Day).

  3. Maren says:

    Indeed, I have seen those shoes though long ago now.

  4. Maren says:

    What a lovely and simple gesture.

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