Route 7 Review - Page 73

Barefoot By Leah Tieger Your daughter asks what sound pink makes and you think it’s the same as the sound when you stomped on that beetle and its insides escaped, sudden and strange. Or the sound of her father beneath you, less sudden but no less strange, and you wonder if this is another thing you can scrape off the sole of your shoe, all the places you’ve stepped, doormats where you danced your undressing before entering homes and temples, climbing the stairs in Chang Mai, the long ascent to summit, where you removed your shoes and took a borrowed shawl to walk with naked feet and covered shoulders, to carry lilies and incense around a golden square. You pressed those flowers against its walls, lit those sticks and planted them in soil, palmed one and carried it with you, let it burn in your sunroom while you vacuumed spiders out of corners, a small apocalypse you started. A part of you goes with them, into that hose, so what’s left of you can say it’s safe for the pink bottoms of your daughter’s feet and yours, tucked beneath you, in meditation. Leah Tieger is a graduate of Bennington College and a fiction and poetry reader for The Boiler. She hosts WordSpace’s Looped reading series in Dallas. Her work appears or is forthcoming in Gravel, Menacing Hedge, and Off the Coast, among others.