I stride in, the height of my heel immediately eyed, the spindly stem
which you balance on. Your foot arched, your calves carved
from your flesh like marble — Michelangelo would be jealous.
It’s true a man invented me, hobbled a woman opposite of a bound
foot – put it on display and made her strut. I know I cause you pain
sometimes but baby, I look so good when I stride into the meeting, no
one questions who’s in charge. And even if the podiatrist recommends
you switch to flats and your mother admonishes you and the internet
details the damage I cause, you still keep wearing me. The favorite
black leather pair with the t-strap, the ones you wear to weddings
and your father’s funeral. The cream patent leather pair, the leopard
print, the grey suede. You love me in every form. And when you take
me off at the end of the day, rub your tired feet, you never swear me off,
never promise to quit me, never decide to leave me in the back
of the closet, buried in the dark.
I see it while driving, a deer on the losing end
of dash across the pavement. I wonder if its body
bounced, if its lips kissed concrete, if it locked eyes
with the panicked driver before its body slid over
the hood and onto the side of the road where
I spotted it days later. I drive past it for a week,
each time its fur falling away more, each time
its bones more exposed to the winter air. Even
in the cold, it decomposes quickly and soon its ribs
jut upward, reaching skyward toward some heaven
I don’t believe in. Still, every time I pass it, I whisper
a word of hope, of prayer, of salvation. I’m moving
too fast to see but I wonder if its heart remains,
enclosed in its cage of bones, if the vultures have
found it yet, eaten the tender muscle.
Courtney LeBlanc is the author of the full length collections Exquisite Bloody, Beating Heart (Riot in Your Throat) and Beautiful & Full of Monsters (Vegetarian Alcoholic Press). She is also the founder and editor-in-chief of Riot in Your Throat, an independent poetry press. She loves nail polish, tattoos, and a soy latte each morning. Read her publications on her blog: www.wordperv.com. Follow her on twitter: @wordperv, and IG: @wordperv79.