Figure Skates

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I grab my figure skates from the zippered bag.
I hold them from the ends of their laces and drop
them to the floor. My fingers are blistered and worn
but I tie them the same as I’ve always done.
I slide my foot into the hard shell and
thump it on the ground,
heel as far back in the boot as possible.
Even with my heel crunched against the carcass,
my toes are still smashed into the front.
The sides cram my feet into a smaller size and
putting weight on it doesn’t help.
My damaged hands push the tongue back and scoop
up the laces.
With each yank, the skate compresses.
First on my toes, then the arch, and finally
my ankles until I’m sure that my feet will go numb.
I pull the strands until my arms are shaking
And I cinch them with a bow, like my dad used to
do for me. I can do it myself though.
I’m done, and I stare down at what I’ve
been doing for so long now.
I stand up and with each step I take,
I feel my feet squeeze for a way out of the
torturous suffocation.





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