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Sport 38: Winter 2010

Feet inside

page 124

Feet inside

We kept with us the archbishop's slippers,
hid them in a trunk with my grandmother's wedding dress worn
once, 23.01.1901.
One day we abandoned the trunk
gave the dress to the museum
who lost it in the fire
that destroyed moa bones
Chinese porcelain, artefacts
(putorino, a pounamu mere)
and their only mummy,
the seventeen year old daughter of a brewer.
The slippers stayed in my wardrobe in a Vogels bread bag
on top of my photograph album with its matt black pages.

When I left town I gave the slippers with unease
to a Cathedral where they displayed them in the crypt behind glass
along with a lock of a saint's hair and the same archbishop's missal.
The subdued sheen of these slippers stays in my mind.
It suggests two sunless feet, the elderly joint below a big toe
the blue threads of veins that stand out from pale skin,
also the thick toenails and the movement, the push forwards
of one foot then the next, how each enters
its own soft silk dark red interior.