The Shoe

by Diana Brodie

We are in our neighbour’s garden. Here’s his shoe.
Three hundred years ago he slipped it off
and today the County Archaeologist encourages us
to guess its size and look for signs of wear.
We inspect other finds laid out on the trestle table:
jettons raised from the bottom of a well,
a fourteenth-century horse’s skull,
old green glass bottles once used for oil.
And the shrivelled shoe, its toe
turned up and stitching plain.
 
To him, an ordinary thing. But as I touch
the leather, stiff with time, the sepia shadow
of my neighbour’s heel slips in.