They gentrify the old West with python & ostrich

or click the homesick heels of ruby, the lazy

slip-on slip-off of loafers, inventions of slogans pithy—

moon shoes: mini trampolines for your tootsies.  My father’s

army of polished Florsheim nines line up in his closet

in his closet like an obedient narrow-sized parade, my new

daisy Kmart sandals for flirty cheese fries on opening day

of the fair, splotches of chocolate milkshake assault

my saddled oxfords which in turn deliver a bruise

(the size of a coconut) on the mean bitch shin of schoolmate,

negative heels only make campus hills steeper but college

boyfriend’s blue suede shoes make me fall in love for a lifetime,

I ain’t no dominatrix but I know how to work thigh-high boots

intimate as skin, then tibial tendon surgery cause my stilettos

to mutiny.  Arrogance of jeweled soles that patronize others

to manipulate their bootstraps, how to shoe the world, dominance

of Air Jordans dangle from a power line, at the sit-in we throw

frenzied sneakers at the mayor, too many screenshots of her

Jimmy Choos but not worse than those evil stepsisters cutting

off their heel or toes.  Gibran believed that the earth is always

jazzed whenever it feels our soles bare but we also stand tall

in shoes that resemble buildings, armadillos, or handcrafted

in the wee hours by elves. Wear dreams on your feet my

mother cooed, dew-sprinkled sprigs of rosemary and thyme

tucked overnight under tongues.


Rikki Santer

Rikki Santer’s poetry has appeared in numerous publications both nationally and abroad including Ms. Magazine, Poetry East, The Journal of American Poetry, Hotel Amerika, Crab Orchard Review, Grimm, Slipstream and The Main Street Rag. Her work has received many honors including five Pushcart and three Ohioana book award nominations as well as a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Humanities. Her eighth collection, Drop Jaw, inspired by the art of ventriloquism, was published by NightBallet Press in the spring. Please contact her through her website:

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