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Sleeping with My Shoes On

November 30, 2013

by Sean Michael, August 2012

They were light-ups.
The coolest shoes I’d ever had
That night I slept with them on
I hoped that I could keep them forever
I never get to keep anything forever
Not even a little while

My last pair of shoes
I’d worn them right out of the store
It’s okay! Mom and Dad told me to!
Then they made me take them off and returned them for cash
Said they didn’t fit me well
But they fit just fine! And they were mine!
Never get to keep anything for very long…
Had to leave my skateboard in a San Francisco hotel room
Usually got clothes from Salvation Army and stuff
There’s no food in the fridge but my parents are all messed up
You can guess where the money went
That measly welfare check that comes every month.

Bought me some overalls, some shoes, a BB gun
But the fun didn’t last
Next week we took it all back and returned it for cash
You can guess where the money went

I’m not giving back my light-ups!
I slept with them on
Woke up each time the babysitter took them off
As soon as she left the room I put them back on
I never get to keep anything for very long
But in the morning my light-ups hadn’t disappeared as I’d feared
I wore those shoes until they were thoroughly worn

To this day, I’m seventeen, sleeping with my shoes on
Old habits die hard
I didn’t want my shoes stolen
Now I might have to run
After the state took us I always ran
Took me eight years to find my way back home
I was sleeping on the couch with my shoes on
When my mother came into the room and took them off
I pretended to sleep, waiting for her to leave
I put my shoes back on and slept like a baby

Posted at  dVerse Poets,  Poetics: A Mile in these Shoes


From → BLOG, Poetry

  1. pretty bitter sweat to have your shoes taken…and never be able to hold onto things that are special for you for very long…i could def see that habit forming…and the sense of security you would have with them on…


  2. What a story.. To have shoes stolen and returned for cash.. I have slept with my shoes on a few times – but never felt any good about it… Hmm but on the other hand they were never stolen.. And the end, returning home despite all – love it


  3. oh heck… that moved me to tears… is this your story…? really tough… reminded me also of a scene of the movie “safe” with jason statham… he stayed overnite in a homeless shelter and gave his shoes to the guy next to him… the guy slept with the shoes on and got killed overnite cause someone wanted his shoes… sorry… this is way off-topic but somehow hit me so hard and…


    • My story through and through, and I’m so glad my poem had such an impact on you in that moment. Writing is sometimes sort of like making love; me and my pen paper create, hopefully, something beautiful.


  4. What an emotional piece. Your writing always gives me pause to see our world in a bigger light– this world that we all share. Thank you for giving us this. ~peace, Jason


  5. Rich details of memory and attachment, loved it 🙂


  6. This story is NOT about shoes, and yet SO about shoes. What a poem. What heart you have! Thank you for sharing it with us, and for joining in the prompt.


  7. “I pretended to sleep, waiting for her to leave
    I put my shoes back on and slept like a baby” – damn straight! a perfect finish.


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