The Shoes

The shoes – a light blue size too big,
untouched with paper filled belly.
The shoes sit tied by the bed.
Just in case
he needs to run away.
Because dragon’s fire does not
Burn hotter than

The knight will come,
but here in the night,
creatures crawl.
The giant,
who gave much more than
looks with disapproval stretching
into eternity.
(One step.
Two step.
The dance begins every time
his shoes misstep.)

Mother is gone.
Father never was.
Just the giant waiting.
Just the tears shedding.

But years posses wings:
Feet grow.
Son trembling, father ignoring
and blue shoes protect
the soles.
Just in case
he needs to run away.

Now no fairytales;
just angry drunks
and forgotten words.
More candles on his cake
than fingers on his hand.
Empty pictures filled with
empty lies.
He sees the blackness swallowing.
And there is no light;
just an old dance.
(One step
Two step
Every time he missteps.)

The shoes have shrunk.
Shoved into bulging suitcases
full of the emptiest material
Don’t look back.
Don’t turn around.
He doesn’t notice the wet
streaming from his father’s eye.
His father, who refused
to say goodbye.
The world rearranging
and he is determined to see all
the Truth.

(One step,
Two step.
Farther from home.)

And now sneakers traded for loafers.
T-shirts for ties.
Jeans for slacks.
He cuts the bangs that covered his eyes
for too long.
Now he sees,
now he knows.
But he is too busy making a home.
He might call his father,
who is now normal size.
He has much to say
but distance is silencing
and being wrong never feels

He gives the shoes to his boys
and reads them tales.
Shows them the plot twist-
an irony he is beginning to understand
through walls and vents,
Whispered curses of the giant.

He wishes to shrink to regular size.
but we do not grow down.
The blue shoes now spotted
Coated in memories and regrets.
No one fits them,
but he does not have the heart to throw them out;
His boys may need to run away.
They teach him a dance.
(One day.
two days.
Watching clocks fly)
But, he prays for a minute more.
A year.
A lifetime.

That lifetime comes
and goes

As he sits,
in slippers that have not seen outside
this linoleum container .
He is old enough to daydream again.
His white haired head puzzles
“How funny that he was wrong:
That giants can be knights.”
He remembers his father,
who never hit him,
never ignored him,
never left him.
Never did anything but
play the grown up.
He remembers hate overwhelming.
He hopes to be forgiven.

He hopes to run back.

Back to that house with the worn porch,
back to a room with
blue shoes too big
sitting by the bed,
just in case he decides to stay.

He breathes in air
that never tasted as sweet.
He thinks of his children.
Now, just to sleep.



Oonagh Kligman is a freshman at Jenkintown High School. She loves reading, but loves to write even more. When she is not locked away some place “bookish,” she is hanging out with her friends, playing tennis, or eating.