Stolen Shoes
by LAURA KASISCHKE
for the woman who stole my shoes from the locker room at the gym



There is blood within the shoe
The shoe’s too small for you

Such is the message in the cleft of the devil’s foot. 
In the shrine piled high with sandals and pumps. 
In the shameless laughter of the younger women at Starbucks, leaning
back, swinging their legs, full of foam, their cups.

So much screaming in a small place. 

In a cage for a housecat, a cheetah.

There is too much room in the shoe
The shoe’s too big for you

The fish flopping in a bucket. 
Waddling through the orange grove, a wounded duck.

So much screaming in that freedom. 
Butterfly on a windshield, clinging to a breeze.

But, listen. I too stole something once
only to stuff it in the trash.     
Together, me and you, thieves in one another’s shoes at last. 

Or, better yet—

Have we become one another now, running barefoot in the grass?

The mystical, final physics of that.



LAURA KASISCHKE has published poems recently in POETRY, AMERICAN POETRY REVIEW, and THE NEW ENGLAND REVIEW.  She has a new collection forthcoming next year with Copper Canyon, and is a Guggenheim Fellow for this year.  She lives in Michigan and teaches at the University of Michigan.