Apr 18, 2010

Ruby Slippers

I can't stop thinking about the shoes I wore on my tour of a Brazilian meat packing plant. Black flats, woven black leather that was slowly giving up, releasing its weave. You could make an argument that, perhaps, the blue plastic booties, showercaps for your feet, were more important in this instance than shoes, in the sense that they kept the actual blood and slime of death from soiling my shoes. But it was the shoes themselves and their cardboard-thin soles that I remember, fondly. Hiding my feet from the horrors through which they trod, not quite thick enough to quite block out sensation entirely. The tiles were uneven. And freezing, like the walls where blood and bone particulates crystallized, the same gruesome texture beneath my feet.

A few weeks later the weaving gave out entirely. They refused the bronzed-staples half-measure and the last ditch superglue attempt. Enough, they said.

I imagine them in a Brazilian trash-heap, waiting patiently in their ignorance (volto? sei lá), casting off a reddish-gold hue in the summer heat. There is no place like home.

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