Shlomo the Cobbler – Ezra Solway

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Keeled over, and thick with blood
Falling from his lips to the cold
Cobblestone of Krakow,
Shlomo the cobbler could barely
Make out the black blur of plodding
Jackboots.

Moments before, the heel iron had
Ploughed its leather through the roof
Of his mouth, shocking his thalamus into stroke.
The same leather Shlomo had learned from a young age to respect
And to whittle with careful exactitude; the leather his mother
Taught him to stitch, his father to shine.

So, as more boots moved
To finish the job, each blow harsher
Than the last, the square throbbing
In fear, Shlomo could see only
The glints of polish, glowing in the air
Like soap bubbles. And could smell only
The sweetness of shoe
Leather, beginning to fill his lungs.

Ezra writes in Philadelphia where currently he’s an MFA candidate at Temple University. His work has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and featured in Eunoia Review and Flash Fiction Magazine, among others. His website: www.Ezrasolway.com

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