By Ashely Diaz—

Book I

Chapter I

I've been wearing heels since birth

With every size increase

Mom bought me a new pair

Bunions, red blisters bursting and crooked toes

Unleashing shouting of pain

“Hush,” Momma said.

“Put your shoes on,” Momma said.

Clenching teeth, I slip that leather

Heal on fresh flesh

And keep it walking.

These shoes were not made for walking

But it's what i to do

And everyone’s boots have walked over.

I've worn all kinds of heels


Straps to the knee


Transparent ones: ones that reveal the blurry perspiration of exhausted sweat.

My Dad’s never seen my shoes

He funded them - time to time

But never asked for a photo

Grandma stood behind my mom

Made sure we were both

Setting our straps on the tightest hole

My aunt wore heels way too short

But was adored

Hoping for the same

Mom and I both followed

But were scorned

Our Head held low

As we slipped our tired ankles in our new stilettos

Chapter II

My aunt gave birth to three new babes

Babes lifted high

Grandma gifted then a gift

Never seen before

Pink satin Ballerina slippers with delicate straps

Jaw hung low

Never felt so….



Watching the little ballerinas

Dance circles around

My hunched back and purple pinky toes

Despite the levels off the ground

Still I despise

Despite the efforts of perfectly walking in a straight line

Still I despise

Chapter III

Grandpa- true comforter

Bought us all gel soles

Rubbed my feet at night

When Grandma wasn’t watching.

On long drives- without grandma

I kicked my heels under the seats

And rested them on the dashboard

Letting my toes

See the view

And receive the fresh air.

When grandma was there

Grandpa walked on his tippy toes

And quickly slipped my shoes on.

If caught, we all walked on sharp salt.

When my aunt lost her king

She retired from her short heels

And walked in the field barefoot

“Don’t judge, it’s a hard time.

She will bounce back,” Grandma said.

I couldn’t help but wish for the wet grass between my toes

To feel the relax glance from Grandma with shoes off.

Make no mistake

Grandma loved

But she hugged with a weak strength

And pinched skin with full force

Chapter IV

When graduating High school

I slipped into my heels

Ready to dorm in college

Ecstatic, I bought and packed flats and short heels

But, then Mom gave birth to a new babe: a prince

And developed Arthritis

I stuffed the new bought shoes in a black bag and set it on moving waves

And watched it drift with my desires

Settling the brightness of the sun, I joined community college

Walking through the halls, I’ve seen woman

With taller heels than mine.

Met with shoe makers

And heel polishers.

There was one

She knew my story

She wore short heels

And flats on occasion

Best of both worlds.

Gave me tasks that strengthened my ankles

Office visits were my favorite

She let me kick my shoes off

As my words formed clouds in the ceiling.

But there was always a missing element

Pain was no longer there

Feet altered

Skin tone pale

Deformed- wrong

A voice louder than any

“Take your shoes off”

Heart pumping

Pulse in feet thumping



Take my shoes off?

I ignored

Chapter V



A Year

I spent ignoring

Distracted, I met a king

From a far away land

Foregin to mine

Granted comfort under sheets

But slipped thorns in the folds

With a great smile and pools of honey boiling in his eyes

His hand complemented the space in my feet

He filled them, abandoned them

Filled them, abandoned them,

Abandoned them, filled them

Killed them.

Left a gaping infected lesion

Attached with an empty womb,

Desolate eyes

And a crumbled heart

Too afraid to beat.

Never felt so….



Knees exhaustively- forcibly toppled to the ground


“Take off your shoes”








Eyes closed

Heart clenched

In my tight fist

I take my shoes off

With my free trembling hand

Light entered my ventricle arteries

Sent tears to the hidden corners of my eyes

My last inhaled breath rushed into the pit of my stomach





I burst

My feet red, toes stuck in toxic friendships, and veins swollen with unforgiveness

I cry at the sandals that stand before me

A hand is placed on my head

Oil flowed from the hand

To my tangled hair

Down my neck

Wrapped around my shoulders

And in between my breasts.

“I love you and you don’t need those shoes”

The presence faded

But left behind running sneakers

With a check

To Just do it.

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