photo by mauricio alejandro ramos
Shawn Aveningo is a globally published, award-winning poet who can't stand the taste of coconut, eats pistachios daily and loves shoes, especially red ones! (redshoepoet.com) Shawn's work has appeared in over 100 literary journals and anthologies. She's a Pushcart nominee, co-founder of The Poetry Box, managing editor for The Poeming Pigeon and journal designer for VoiceCatcher: a journal of women's voices and visions. Shawn is a proud mother of three and shares the creative life with her husband in the suburbs of Portland, Oregon.
Red Shoe Poet
Can't Quite Fill the Space
I remember my first one. I guess I was about 13,
at least that's what I consider to be the first "real" one.
Not pretend, like the ones my mom bought me
when I was 11 or 12. This one wasn't stretchy;
it had that all important number-letter combination,
and I had to try on several before finding the perfect one.
I remember standing before the three-way mirror,
admiring the way it gently propped up my soft white flesh,
creating the subtle nuance of curves,
curves that I hoped would catch the attention of Bobby
and Mike and Steve and Doug,
but mostly Bobby.
I remember the little blue forget-me-nots, and the row
of lace picot adorning the ridge, the satin white bow in the center,
and the double hook I had mastered, fastening behind my back
without looking. Anxious for the first time
my future boyfriend would uncock it with a single hand.
I remember the one I bought when I was 23.
It stayed in its box for 7 months, in the bedroom down the hall,
in a basket filled with onesies, receiving blankets, and rags
to drape over my shoulder. I couldn't wait to wear that one.
It wasn't quite as pretty as what I had become accustomed to wearing,
but I couldn't wait for the first time I'd fold down the flaps,
let down my milk, and hear the coo, sweet suckling
of my newborn baby boy.
I remember the one I purchased when I was 36 -
both in size and age. It was my first one in red,
hoping "Ruby Temptress" would live up to its name,
hoping to rekindle a flame, before the next cool wind
extinguished the final flicker.
No such miracle occurred. No such secret revealed.
It's a cool day in October.
Today I remember 13. I remember 23. I remember 36.
Today, there are no little blue flowers
or alluring shades of scarlet to choose.
There is only the white one, sterile with a flap, this time
only on the left side, where I believe the surgeon
may have also cut away a piece of my heart.
And the prosthetic can't quite fill the space.