Red Shoes

by | Oct 11, 2017 | Poetry

A piano trills in the hills
above the canyon,
your cat flings herself
at a bird touched down
on the balcony rail,
and airborne
in the lust for it,
nearly over sails her mark
and plummets. It’s a fragile magic
hems me to your spell. Bach
and afternoon noshings,
aroma of Jasmine moshing
with sudden mention of your Ex,
the familiar glint
of obsession’s crimson tint
rising to the surface
of your eye’s gray stage.
Invisible transcriptions,
the ghost notes playing:
how you look away
to speak of it and her.
I want to throw my body
at the widest empty spaces,
at something blood-warm
and winged, too,
cast my whole self to desire.
Though unlike the bird
and cat, I lack talons,
an ability to turn back fast enough,
claw the air
or whatever catches
and save myself
from a lone grave below.

So I let myself go
and fall.
I fall, bravely up.

"Red Shoes," a poem by Michelle Bitting

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Photo used under CC.

About The Author


Michelle Bitting has work published or forthcoming in The American Poetry Review, Prairie SchoonerNarrativeRiver Styx, Crab Orchard Review, Passages North, Linebreak, diode, Rattle, Anti—the L.A. Weekly and others. Poems have appeared on Poetry Daily and as the Weekly Featured Poet on Verse Daily. In 2007, Thomas Lux chose her full-length manuscript, Good Friday Kiss, as the winner of the DeNovo First Book Award and C & R Press published it in 2008. Her book Notes to the Beloved, won the 2011 Sacramento Poetry Center Award and will be published in 2012. Recently, Michelle won the Beyond Baroque Foundation Award. Michelle has taught poetry in the U.C.L.A. Extension Writer’s Program, at Twin Towers prison, and is proud to be an active California Poet in the Schools. She holds an MFA in Poetry from Pacific University, Oregon. Visit her at