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The cupboards have been emptied and the shelves are standing bare,
Except for the faded cardboard box…
And I remember when he placed it there.
With quiet hands I reach for it and slowly bring it down
And place it on the old oak chest.
A cardboard box on an oaken chest
Two shades of brown on brown.
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My quiet hands now silently remove the faded lid
To reveal the faded leather
Scuffed and scarred, solid and seasoned by contrary weather.
His football boots now preserved in their faded cardboard box forever.
Not his first pair, but his last-
Memories of games from forty years long past.
I watched him after that final game when he rubbed them dry
And laid them down
and his life to follow was never quite the same.
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The studs are rough against my hands
And I hear the cheering from the stands.
I feel that leather so old and weathered
And remember well the joy and the pleasure that filled our lives
Because he played the game
and now it will never be the same.
One boot is laced, the eyelets carefully threaded,
The other has no lace,
There is nothing in the place where it should be.
And then I see it on the side with seven knots securely tied
and a small white card lying close beside.
His words explained the knotted lace-
One knot for each of five clubs in his life,
One knot for me, his loving wife,
One knot for his only son
on whose arrival he said
his playing days were done.