The Snoot boots you wore until the leather harness around the heels wore thin as paper,
the ones you broke in by striding, the ones you wore to test tires, kick tropes,
trip out of gins, work out an image – made you taller.
You took them to Port Alberni, wore them to the mill, set them in a locker,
tied your hair back under your hardhat, put on your Redwing Steel-toe Loggers,
felt strong and ripe for pulling at the green chain.
But in the lunch room,
beside the Chinese man that opened his belt to accommodate a feast of sandwiches,
you saw your boots on a stranger and felt the world harden and your courage leak out.
And you turned away, wordless,
under eyes that held contempt for you,
and contempt for what can be taken with impunity.
Uncertain now of all those possible futures, accepting your ashen rage,
You punched the clock, leaving your boots behind,
with your woolly memories of arrival in shambles.
And letting a piece of death settle in,
you prepared your urn with the others,
who know that flesh is ridden hard by fear.