Hop this Scotch

 

Hop this Scotch

I never know what will be my final move.
Ask my sneakers how much I love
being worn, the motion exerting a pull
on everything. They reply: when will I
step outside my given lines? You must
press your ear to the earth to hear
their voices, as Forché once said,
but only because the soles are thin
to the point of breakage and squeak
with each lurch. I hate the music
walking makes, it sings of poverty.
I used to go up, down, back around
bare feet on concrete, a callus dance
a summer sway, tarmac tango. Now
I tread soft, edge to the sides, try
not to slide on sleet—every step
is treacherous in ragged leather,
the undone skin of a fallen beast.
The body remembers as well as I
the carefree hours on grass, road,
silent except for sound we ached
to trill. Time plays the same game.
Whenever I go forward I go back
until I am reaching for my degree
at my grandma’s knee, her skin
wrapped in a burial shroud. As
I kiss my lover I kiss her worms,
tongue future dirt. This too bodies
remember. I can forget as I walk,
lose everything except the moan
of these shoes defraying, doing
their level best to unseat their death.

Omar Sakr

Author: Omar Sakr

Omar Sakr is an Arab Australian poet. His poetry has been published in English, Arabic, and Spanish, in numerous journals and anthologies including: Griffith Review, Wildness, Overland, Meanjin, Island, Cordite Poetry Review, The Best Australian Poems 2016, Contemporary Australian Poetry, Antic, and Circulo de Poesía. Runner-up in the Judith Wright Poetry Prize, he has also been shortlisted for the ACU Poetry Prize and the Story Wine Prize. He is the poetry editor of the Lifted Brow and his debut collection, These Wild Houses, is out now.