A European winter aches in my right ear, numbs the tips

of my fingers until I cannot tell thought from action,

the young Hungarian hairdresser is handsome but impatient

with my lack of Hungarian (click go the shears) – today these

are the empty complaints I walk with until I reach the other side

of the city and the Shoes on the Danube Bank greet me.

Sculpted in iron, this memorial of women’s heels, men’s boots

and smaller sadder shoes filled with pebbles and toffees as if

this had been some Jewish family fun day circa 1944-45;

a guessing game, a matching game, not a shot and left to topple

and sink or float game  …  sixty bodies, sixty pairs of feet

bare as the day they graced the world and toes were counted

with love and hope, already and forever worth their weight …