I look down at my feet and ask why they hurt me,

why their joints swell, tinged purple on occasion,

making me limp and hobble back from class down the harsh, uneven brick street.


I pound them on the pavement of the river path and ask them why they ache

Shove them into flats and deny their pleas for Birkenstock cork

I crack my tiny stub-toes on the floor beneath my desk and resent them

Neglecting the fact that they’ve carried me everywhere I’ve gone


Steadied me on the slippery, mossy rock beach as a child

Led me from the sweet, slow Midwest to the humid and bustling East

Anchored me in my boots through every race

Steadied me on the ground each time I’ve raised my hand to speak, voice wavering


I look down at my feet and ask how I can help them

How we together can overcome a star-cross of a shitty gene and a need to explore

I gingerly peel off my socks as I sit

Letting toes stretch after a long day in shoes.


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