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hey say to understand a man you must walk a mile in his shoes

(A Fiction Poem)

I slip into the bedroom tie you up,
tape your mouth shut, turn off the TV. Convince myself,
there is no grip to get.

Make you listen to old poems by me, recorded in makeshift sound booths, by way of other men’s basements, using garage band.
Poems are my favorite platforms
I say.
You try to mumble over the tape, what?
I can’t understand you,
I laugh.
Slide my feet into your Sunday shoes, this will put an end to that though,
I explain.
Slam the door behind me.

Your shoes are loyal,
don’t make a sound on flat surfaces. Won’t even flop off my feet properly.                                          Pink-slipped,
and repossessed,
we are all that is left.
I need to comprehend.
Didn’t give you the glass,
I stuck my finger in,
to pull bits of the cork out.
We have to be.
These are the soles I watch you carry to the altar. I can’t stand the silent treatment.
Heading home,
I have decided,
we will catch a fire,
shake loose our skin,
and since you are still tied up
you have no choice in the matter.
Gently pulling the tape from over your mouth, we sit face to face.
You say,
You are still mourning Bea Arthur.
I say,
Your shoes are your shoes.


I wrote this after I found Ai’ . Her work is dark, but honest. This poem first appeared in Southern Women’s Review.

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