Red Shoes by Catherine Lewis

Poet: Catherine Lewis Poem title: Red Shoes Poem: fitting to buy my first Valentino shoes on Valentine’s Day two-thousand miles from home by Newport Beach’s flaming orange sunset as one stage in my fertility journey ends today the tenth and final time ova are surgically plucked 		from my body without anesthetic 		at this California new-age last-ditch fertility clinic I don’t plan to care about ovulation again no matter how this motherhood story ends and Mama needs a new pair of shoes 		to commemorate this day shiny red 4-inch stilettos 		trimmed with spiky gold pyramid studs for several days’ take-home pay which is insane but one pair of shoes is more than I’ve ever had to show for all I’ve spent on fertility drugs  §  girls’ night out with new dance class friends all unencumbered by motherhood I walk five minutes in sleek maroon dress, red heels binge on high-end steak, cocktails at sparkling Yaletown boîte before we hop to next nightspot watch friends fend off men who try to dance with us as the girls pass around coveted cigarette on bus stop bench they stare down at my feet I can’t believe you wore those shoes all night, they gasp 		I swear, I’m fine, I insist though big toenail throbs for weeks before falling off it still hurts less than if I’d stayed in touch with old friends who became soccer moms and left me behind  §  stumble home from my birthday dinner last selfie of red shoes capping off red skintight dress right stiletto now missing rubber tip, only raw metal left for I had felt my stiletto catch between the cobblestones that get me every time cobbler refreshes both heel tips for a mere fifteen bucks small price to pay to preserve last faint hope I once had of motherhood End of poem. Credits: Copyright © Catherine Lewis Previously published in the anthology emerge 19 (SFU Publications, 2019) Catherine Lewis is a Chinese-Canadian writer based in Vancouver. Born in Hong Kong and raised in Canada, she is a 2019 graduate of the Writer’s Studio at Simon Fraser University and a 2020 graduate of the Vancouver Manuscript Intensive. Her work has been presented at Surrey Muse and displayed at the Line & Lens photopoetry exhibition. Catch her on Twitter or Instagram at @cat_writes_604.