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Van Gogh's Boots

Van Gogh’s Boots

by Kitty Jospe

A Pair of Shoes, VanGogh 

Only a pair of boots,
a man’s only pair of boots.
Leather aches into a stiff lip,
chafes the space
            mangled laces
     barely close —
peasant boots —
            artist’s boots —
mute mates.

One pulled up stark
watching the other
lip folded open
as if ready to speak.

A painting of boots,
one with a cow-thick tongue
hanging in the bleeding shadows
of a barn,
the other kicked off, 
crumpled in fatigue.

The caked spring mud says
one man has been out
in the world, walking.
One flung to the bare floor,
empty of sinew and bone,
the other standing upright,
a sentinel

watching over its mate.