Three Triadic Couplets
(after Vincent van Gogh ‘A Pair of Shoes’ 1886)
No one knows who the shoes belong to:
crumpled leather, stringy laces and mud
is all that holds them together, in a shape
moulded in time by the tread of the feet
of someone who has left their mark
though no-one can hope to decipher it.
It passes through me – brushes my spine
with icy claws which draw from my skin
a haptic cry. A ghost has settled into me,
inhabits my body, neat as a hand in a glove,
and turns the air bitter – leaves a taste on the
tongue I can’t ignore. Then, bored, leaves me.
I saw you once, walking along the street, This was
in Kingston-upon-Thames. You strode along and
looked happy enough. I was on my lunch break and
wanted to shout out, Hey, you’re me! But isn’t it bad
luck to meet? So I just watched you from a distance.
And sometimes I still wonder how you’re getting on