KYSO Flash
Knock-Your-Socks-Off Art and Literature
Issue 3: Spring 2015
Haibun Story: 175 words [R]

The Left Boot

by Peter Butler

[In 2003, the left boot of a British soldier was found during the construction of a motorway on the site of the Battle of Ypres, 1916.]

My twin and I were blown apart, several hundred miles, in Mr. Kaiser’s war. We got a lashing from unfriendly fire.

We’d been together, twin and I, since Aldershot, the day our private sewed on his corporal’s stripes, our toecaps shining up at his curly morning face, lightly shaven, marginally scarred.

Size twelve boots, with ample room for socks, we marched away from tarmac to soft terrain, on and onwards to the mine they said was one of ours.

That is all I recall. I have since gone AWOL in a foxhole south of somewhere, concrete sitting on my tongue, hoping sometime soon I may be needed by a man with one left foot.

My twin, I guess, is elsewhere on the other side of heaven, listening to sermons, warmed by a friendly fire, his laces freshly laundered.

coach drivers chatting
stubbing cigarettes on
a headstone

—From the haibun collection The Trouble with Mona Lisa (Alba Publishing, 2015); republished here by author’s permission

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