Pamela Garvey The 2River View, 9.2 (Winter 2005)
Shoes and Story


Her feet were actually wide, flat
and dirt-tanned from bare-footed work.
The slipper itself at least a C width. The heel,
thick, walkable. The step-sisters’ feet
were pushed in, arched and smooth,
like their shoes. Their feet chafing,
sliding around in that lone shoe
the prince had held out like a platter,
they stumbled forward, sweating fear they'd break
the wobbly heel, chip the shoe,
sever toes or ankle with toothed glass.
But they would live with slivers of glass
lodged in their feet, occasional trickles of blood
trailing the palace. They’d get used to it.


The wicked witch also wanted a triple click
ticket home, any home. So she was ready to kill
the bobby-socked, pig-tailed adolescent, skipping
arm in arm with brainless and heartless.
The girl’s feet were meaningless
to this quest—same size as the witch’s feet.
One size fits all in this world, looming
large, grainy colors we can box into thirteen inches.
It’s not about the body, anyway.
It’s about the shoes. The broom-riding hag
and the girl both knew, knew that the shoes meant
prestige and style, that if the girl removed them,
her feet would've shriveled to stockings:
the feet of the Eastern sister, crushed by her house.

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