Shoes Birthday and proper, I was your first. Still, my footless holes like old eyes observe the man; once the little boy who stood in me, too young to tie a knot. Loose and free, your curls were golden like the sand we walked upon, my new skin as smooth as a pebble, Laced and polished, tied by a mother's hands, I was part of Sunday's best; a pattern of white stitches. On this small shelf I stand laceless on my toes, the grooves in my soles barely worn by your childhood footsteps. Inside, my hidden tongue, the maker's name reduced to a B. Incomplete Raindrops wiggle over the window like sperm without tails, the clock on the sill tocs loud; somewhere dogs chuck their bark in. Above black birds are far enough to be insects, below your silence more real than a noun; here our hugs as thin as skin. My breath beneath my clothes, more visible grey hair, the lump in my jaw that's still to be named. Now my bones click and pause; the broken whistle that comes and grows as I ungrow. I'm Still Here Silence here is white walls, empty pews, a sole wreath, and me. Through the only window bare trees wait behind paused raindrops. I turn away, I'm still here. Not like me to notice such miserable beauty but today I do. There's a sudden noise with no name; I've no wish to know. "What was that noise?" was something you asked often, sometimes I couldn't identify it, but I would answer always. At the end we leave; me with my slow walk, you all polished wood on wheels. I don't wish for last respects and their payment, and if the sun were to shine I wouldn't smile. Now, as I follow you through the windscreen and difficult rain, it's the black car of your final journey that shines. Mount Merapi I am a mountain not a god, I'm not the universe, still I have a black hole. I'm not a season though I burn, hot like the midsummer sun. I'm not a temple, nor a palace despite my fall of ash being like ground mortar. I'm not a myth yet I roar like a dragon. I'm not a king, still at my foot you lie frozen in prayer.
Kevin Reid lives and works as a librarian in Angus, Scotland. He studied English Literature at the University of Dundee. Back in the 90s he spent some time living in a tipi community in the southern Spanish mountains, which led to visionary encounters in peyote ceremonies. After a brief spell of teacher training he chose to study librarianship. He has a key role in organising Scotland's longest running teenage book award. His poetry has appeared in various publications, such as, Pushing Out the Boat, Scottish Poetry Review, heavy bear, Gutter Eloquence, The Plebian Rag, The Recusant, and Counterexample Poetics.