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.

Author: Omar Sakr

Omar Sakr is an Arab Australian poet. His poetry has featured or is forthcoming in Griffith REVIEW, Wildness, Overland, Island, Antic, Verity La, Strange Horizons, and Circulo de Poesía, among numerous others. Anthologised in Contemporary Australian Poetry, The Best Australian Poems 2016, his poetry has also been translated into Spanish and Arabic. Omar's debut collection, These Wild Houses, is out now with Cordite Books (2017). He is the Poetry Editor of The Lifted Brow and lives in Melbourne.