You are a shoemaker of great skill with an inherent ability to create a shoe so beautiful that one ignores the distortion of the toes, the blisters at the heel, the bunions of conformity. You did not know your father well but became more skillful than he at placing these handmade shoes on the feet of whomever you wanted to see dance in them.
Dance a dance that pleased you. Dance a dance that made the feet bleed and crack and cry but no one would notice the pain because the shoes were already ruby red and crimson, camouflaging perfectly the pain and injury. But oh how beautiful the shoes you’ve made still look, never mind the flesh beneath the shell, bending its once strong form turning it to bloody spineless clams.
Dance! I cannot dance. I cannot wear these red shoes that my mother wore. I cannot pretend they fit me well and that you’ve made them to bring me comfort. They are suited for your design of beauty. And find me ugly you may, but my feet will run wildly through streams of freedom and forests of happiness, cut and bruise over sharp rocks of the world.
They will find time to heal and disinfect with the salts of the sea, where shoes have no place to be. Pulled off by the quicksand of time, these feet are mine, never to be bound though you may hound, howl and scowl at my nonconformity. I have seen the feet that carried me and wish not to bleed internally, while dancing for the world to see. Believing I live happily while crying and soaking my wounds, wishing one day to lose the abusive shoes that have stopped me from truly dancing.
Shoemaker, you knew the pain of your mother when your father tried to hold those shoes on her like a vice. Why did you not think twice of the pain you would inflict upon your wife? Forcing those shoes onto her life after knowing that for your mother those shoes would not suffice. You loved those shoes more than her joy and now as she tugs and rips at them, you cry like the little boy you were, feeling the hurt of abandonment after birth, you knew your father was a shoemaker, you saw the dance he forced your mother to dance.
You felt the sadness as a child, is that why your spirit went wild with vengeance to do what he could not and create too the shoes that would rot the feet of the woman who gave you her heart? Was it in your nature to stop the painful cycle? I think not, because the crafting of such shoes takes thought and instead of soft leathers you chose iron, wrought like a trap for her foot.
Now she gnaws at her ankle like a wolf and I howl at the moon hoping soon she will run wildly like me, beside me, three-legged but brave, no longer be a shoe-wearing slave dancing to the tune a shoemaker made.
© Caridad De La Luz a.k.a. LA BRUJA. Published by permission in Centro Voices on 11 April 2015.