Those shoes were still tangibly his son
and that smell was his sweat that lingered there.
His father wore them to rallies, or just to the store:
his son’s feet grew and then then grew no more,
killed in the library with other of his friends,
grown until his father could fit into his feet,
and how the sound of his shoes on the street
was slower for being older, and too heavy to eclipse.
Other parents filled their pockets or marked their books
with the glasses or pills or slips of paper
they wouldn’t have given a look
but which their children were murdered with,
what they held or wore, were carrying or reading,
or clips of hair still glued with their blood
and the huge sound of that blood’s pleading.
And the mothers carry their ghosts especially
in the buoyant silence in their bellies,
the weight there anymore only a brick,
a tightened emptiness unlike the unity
that had once been carried with a kick.