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January 23, 2023

Combat Boots

By Tyler Willson

Combat Boots


Two identical pair
Four identical laces
black, hard, unfriendly
pinch my feet
chafe my calf
At the end of the day, my favorite time,

Take off the boots, my feet gasp for air.

The boots earn their scars
some I can name.
Others appear in the night while I sleep.

Injured by garden tools,
assailed by road gravel,
and the concertina has to have a taste.

Night after night, I rub more
Black slippery polish
till they shine again.
Day after day, the shine dies more.
No longer do they stand straight in their place

now they bravely lean into an invisible wind.

They have carried me literally miles:
Through mock battles, road marches,
kept my feet safe, warm, dry.
At the end of the day, when I take them off,

I feel regret,

like parting with old friends.

And I look forward to the next time
I can slip back into them.

Article © Tyler Willson. All rights reserved.
Published on 2010-02-01
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