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A Walk in Your Shoes - Unrealized

written by: Aurora Phoenix

 

I slip my feet into your shoes
wrinkling my nose
while I distract myself
from the odor
of sweat and rough pebbled roads and
difference.
I remember the first time
a person of color told me
she had grown up
thinking white people
smell funny
like wet dogs
and cringe under barrage
of memory –
my defensive inner monologue
(thank the goddess it was my inner voice)
at how wet dogs smell
GROSS
I pride myself on being
clean
and my naiveté clamoring
I don’t have a smell
though of course
we all smell of something
and perhaps I
reeked
of unacknowledged privilege.

I brace myself
embrace the experience
bury ringed and painted toes
in concrete shod heels
gird ankles as I lace up
tighten the knots
haves and have-nots
reinforce resolve.
white-collared fingers
split and crack
while flipping the coarse hewn pages
in the atlas of your journey.
I mimic Nellie Bly
hell-bent on exposé
ferret out your footsteps
along the turbulent trail
I clamber to the summit
of perilous mounts
I could have sworn
(cursed prodigiously!)
were foothills which
barely broke my sweat.
there are serpents
camouflaged as flower stems
they struck at me
when I stopped to smell
ah, the roses!
as they invite us all to do.

winded,
eyes dust-caked
I stumble upon it
the X-marked spot
that place
that unites and divides us
no treasure here
you rubbed and rubbed
with spit and pencil stub.
it is blurred around the edges -
the twisted-tined fork
in your back road
that haunts you
as it ill-defines
you
contemptible or vile.

I have arrived
at the close
vaudevillian excursion
phenomenological circumnavigation
manifest and destiny
obscured
I tug your boots
from barking dogs
massage blistered
tenderfoot
contemplate chipped varnish
adorning well-mouthed toes.

Aurora Phoenix

Aurora Phoenix

I spent over 2 decades as a clinical psychologist, prior to the decimation of my world when I was suddenly incarcerated 3 years ago. My writing was born in that caged existence – not a choice but a soul-saving necessity. Now I am working to hone my craft as I write about daily life, in all its trials, tribulations and moments of exquisite joy. I write as Aurora Phoenix at Insights from “Inside”
Aurora Phoenix

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