Dawn Leas


She collects size five pumps black as the coal her husband lugs
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.

Dawn Leas

has contributed to Literary Mama, Southern Women's Review, The Pedestal, San Pedro River Review, Connecticut River Review, and other journals. Her chapbook, I Know When to Keep Quiet, was published by Finishing Line Press and is available in print and Kindle versions. Her full-length collection, Take Something When You Go, will be released by Winter Goose Publishing in 2016. Currently, she is the assistant to the president of Wilkes University and a contributing editor at and Poets' Quarterly. Her website is