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The place is full of worshippers.

You can tell by the sandals

piled outside, the owners’ prints

worn into leather, rubber, plastic,

a picture clearer than their faces

put together, with some originality,

brows and eyes, the slant

of cheek to chin.


What prayer are they whispering?

Each one has left a mark,

the perfect pattern of a need,

sole and heel and toe

in dark, curved patches,

heels worn down,

thongs ragged, mended many times.

So many shuffling hopes,

pounded into print,

as clear as the pages of holy books,

illuminated with the glint

of gold around the lettering.


What are they whispering?

Outside, in the sun,

such a quiet crowd

of shoes, thrown together

like a thousand prayers

washing against the walls of God.