It used to be bottles

First published in Refugees Welcome by Eyewear Books

Sometimes, it would make the newspaper,
in the local section between a notable death
and a prize for jam or the odd photograph
of the potato that looked like your Granny.

It used to be bottles, now it is drifting shoes.
Sometimes, they will make the newspaper
but mostly they don’t because we’d rather
read about bottles and words from dots.

There are too many shoes, but none with words.
Their message is more subtle, imprinted
in the insole, like the rings of the felled pine,
counting outwards the life now surrendered.

Sometimes the message in the shoe is hidden,
covered by the wrinkled foot of the drowned
on another tide, on an old school map, a dot
shaded in pink where the Empire screwed us all.

It makes the newspaper, just another death,
not so much notable but just as a passing dot
until another odd shaped vegetable surfaces.
Oh, how we laugh and forget the insoles of the felled.

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