to the surface every afternoon. She pairs them with pencil skirts
to wear to Mass and frequent meetings with Sister Ann regarding
her five sons, then in the evenings to show houses to couples
with smaller families and bigger bank accounts than her own.
She saves her three-inch peep-toes for Christmas and weddings,
watches her granddaughters teeter in them on the red living room
carpet. Years later, her youngest daughter "forgets" to pack
her collection, sending her to assisted living with slippers
and white Keds. At her funeral, daughters and granddaughters
process through rows of marble headstones, wobbling over gravel,
sinking into wet grass in stout rectangles, stalactite stilettos. Wedges
and platforms. Leather Mary Janes soft as whispered words, cranberry
patent slingbacks. Later, they toss them onto sand, a collage with black
size fives at its center, then run to the water's edge. Their silence is cut
by a gull's call, the hiss of grey waves washing over bare feet.