Shoemaker

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The children watch his hands
strain against leather, tug
tough hide, obdurate skin,
once supple and alive,
now stiff and dry,

see how his patience,
like love,
wears death down
until new shoes grow
in his strong hands.

They learn to bend
life’s refuse
to new use,

how being
always finds
purpose.

Thus, in lines of memory
we measure our days.

The ancestors guide us
as we build new form
from old tears,

and our children
watch
and learn.

(6/12/2013)

_________________________________
Shoemaker, Hung Liu, 1999, oil on canvas, Crocker Art Museum, Sacramento CA

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