The Shoes In My Closet

In my closet I have a pair of shoes

I have this pair of shoes because she gave them to me

She gave them to me because she was moving far away

Far away, to Seattle, but I hardly knew why

I hardly knew why, because she spoke in riddles about her past

Her past that had this darkness

Darkness I began to figure out was caused by her family

Her family that gave up on themselves but also gave up on her

Gave up on her because she was different

Different in that she used to be their baby boy

Their baby boy who grew up to be a woman

A woman who I had met in her time of need

A time of need that led her to reach out to anyone who would listen

Who would listen, she had no one else

She had no one else which explained how she ended up in New York

In New York with a man who offered her a place to live

A place to live in exchange for her companionship

Companionship that was forced, abusive, and she needed to get away

To get away with the help of anyone who was willing

Willing to listen to her stories of transitioning at nineteen

Nineteen and alone in the world to figure it out on her own

Her own identity, her own life, her own real love

Real love but she was stuck, here, with all her old things

Her old things included those shoes

Those shoes were brand new sneakers

New sneakers, for boys, that she never wore and thought I’d want

She thought I’d want them, it’s all she could give me to say thanks

To say thanks for rushing her things in boxes out the door while the guy was out

Out doing things, unaware, because she kept her plans a secret

A secret, like all the real pain she held inside

The pain she held inside from when she was younger

Younger like the photo she showed me of her, as a young boy, and her mother

Her mother, whom she loved, but was in rehab now

In rehab because her husband dealt drugs

Dealt drugs, a gang banger, who beat his wife and this girl, then a boy

The boy who wasn’t even this man’s child

The child who went to live with the grandmother after the father was put away

Put away like those shoes in my closet

In my closet because I didn’t want to forget her

I don’t want to forget her

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