Reader, they are dirty. You’ve come so far
so harshly: bloody miles through silt and brambles,
noxious bogs and mud-fields, dunes of char
beneath the sun-spill—all of it in sandals.
Take my chair; this dry, blond Scotch on ice
will douse your pride. I kneel to yawn the straps
that bite your ankles, loose the vamps that vise
your tarsals, slide bruised heels into my lap.
There’s fragrant water in the wooden vessel,
sanded smooth and gauged so that your stride
can lose its travel in the lather’s pestle
and cascade. You’re no one, and you’re special,
drawn to leave before you’re even dried,
the paths bathed off revealing paths inside.