Schmutzie (a.k.a. Elan Morgan) can most commonly be found at, but she's also the founder of Ninjamatics, the Canadian Weblog Awards, and the Grace in Small Things social network in her ongoing efforts to make good things happen on the Internet.


No One’s Boot


I lived in this tiny apartment
with a shower made out of a slab of cement
and bedsheets hanging from a rod.
I was starting university.
My parents were relieved.
I read Gabriel Garcia Marquez novels
and fed myself on ten dollars a week.
I had a cat I was afraid of
because he attacked people’s eyes.
I took medication that turned my urine green,
my chest hollow, and my hands cold.


I read and re-read One Hundred Years of Solitude.
My bare walls were populated with yellow and blue bits of paper
that organized my thoughts around acculturation.
I stuck short strips of transparent tape to each of my left fingertips
to be ready for the next bit of paper.
I dreamt about the slow march of banana groves
and read essays by Mircea Eliade.


My apartment was filled with basement and dumpster salvage,
and I looked around at it all one day
and knew that when I moved in the spring
almost none of these things would come with me.
They were still garbage in my apartment.
My bed was a construction of plastic milk crates and flattened cardboard
topped by a slab of pink foam I had dragged in from an alley.


One day,
I fell through the bedsheet shower curtain and gashed my leg.
The gash kept bleeding and bleeding while I was out,
and, when I looked down,
it became clear that it wasn’t my boot on my foot anymore.
I was filling someone else’s boot with my blood,
and they didn’t care if I did.
It had become no one’s boot.


I showed my friend how strange it looked,
the blood seeming black as it congealed in my sock,
and she shuffled me home.
Stop laughing, she said,
because I was laughing now
while my foot made kissing noises in the muck in no one’s boot.


She cleaned my leg and fed me aspirin while I lay on the bed ,
and I traced the milk crate waffle pattern with my shoulderblades.
Does it hurt? she asked.
Nothing felt like anything anywhere, so I shook my head no.
You have a fever, she said,
and I fell asleep and dreamt that my leg was a dead leg,
and that the blood drying in no one’s boot was no longer mine.

6 comments / Add Yours

lovely! even though it’s about that time of life when you have no idea what life is going to turn out to be and you simply focus – sometimes – too much on every event and experience as if trying to divine clues about the future. beautiful in reminding me of that time and sense…


Love. This. Poem. Weirdly, it made me wonder if everyone remembers who they were when they read One Hundred Years of Solitude. Maybe it’s that kind of book…

So touched by this one. Thank you.


Wow. What a mind-blowing poem.
(Kind of gross to think about that much blood, but it’s part of the beauty of your poetry.)


I LOVE this person, she is very talented. I adore her! xo


Powerful, Elan – I can feel both the vulnerability and the disassociation. A complex paradox.


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