His Shoes by Garrett Phelan

His Shoes

After his death from traumatic brain injury
I took some of his clothes, particularly his blue jeans,
that I was surprised fit me. I hadn’t realized
how small my brother had become being a giant to me.
I guess that’s what alcohol and loneliness can do,
shrink you, slowly eat away at you. But the shoes,
I remember the cordovan shoes I took, almost new,
and wore them as if I were a living cliché walking
in his shoes. But the left shoe never felt his real left foot
like it felt my left foot. Years before, that foot
with most of his left leg was torn off on a hillside
when a motorcycle crash threw him through the woods.
But he didn’t die, he limped through the rest of his short time
and I tried to keep him walking by walking in those shoes.
I walked and walked and walked so far that the shoes wore out.


Garrett Phelan is the author of two micro-chapbooks Unfixed Marks and Standing where I am (Origami Poem Project). His poems have appeared in numerous publications including Harpy Hybrid, Slipstream, Potomac Review, Sheila-Na-Gig, Connecticut River Review, Third Wednesday, and Off the Coast. He is a Pushcart Prize nominee.

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