Shoes Brought Me to This Place by M
Black felt, clog-inspired, many sizes
too large. My feet slip, treacherously
near the verge with every step. In them,
I sorrowfully num tchai until dawn.
I am forced to breakfast with the others, told to eat
institutionalized, rheumy eggs if I wish
to be whole again. “Scrambled are good
for me?” I ask—scrambled was the van
that carried me here. My fork shakes
like a shekere. I eat in them, sleep
in them, bathe in them. They mold
my soles, infect me with his contours,
character. His thrumming hum numbs
my toes, rises through me. Orderlies try to remove
them; I slap their hands, bite the back
of their necks. When the shrieking starts
at night, I hide inside them, soft
and safe. They are risk, ritual, reward.
“He is dead,” the therapist tells me.
No, not when his shoes still dance.