Dear Cleats, A Poem By Phoenix B. Meadows

Dear Cleats
By Phoenix B. Meadows


I don’t know how I feel about your shoes.

You use our souls as if they were your own personal
Wiping off a bit off this, and a bit of that,
Onto them.
And I would just like to say,
I don’t know how I feel about your shoes.

See, we were used to them before.
The ridges all worn down and smooth from time spent walking in those shoes,
But now you have new ones,
And correct me if I’m wrong,
But aren’t they cleats?

They bury deep,
Like thorns lodged in fingers turning into splinters as they break off inside tired flesh.

I don’t know how I feel about your cleats.

We could almost ignore you before,
When you came to the door after a long day,
Treading over us and wiping the mud off your shoes and into our souls like we were wet-wipes,
Only waiting for just that moment when you would come along.

People, are not we-wipes,
And if you think they are,
Then you my friend,
Are a dick.

Now you scrub your thorn fortified toes across us and grin.

Makes you grin.

You look at the world and you see a playground built of people,
And a thrift-store made out of the half used skin of others.

You see things.

And I suppose it isn’t your fault,

You were raised this way,
Learning from before you could walk that it was okay to crawl over others,
And as a child,
You ran
Over others.

Whether with your car on the street as a bypasser passed by at just the wrong minute,
And the option was slow down,
And not win the race to nowhere fast,
Or hit them.
And so you hit them.
Or the girl you pushed over in school as you flew down the halls, pushing her face in the dirt so you could move faster with red-hot, double-blind vision that said only you mattered.

I suppose that was your parents fault.
You were raised knowing you were better,
And better meant perfect.

I say it’s your fault though.

Every time your new cleats dig in,
I tell you.

Because it might not have been your fault then,
And you might have not know better, and you might have been told it was okay to use the skin of another person like a sweater.
But I am not your sweater.

And you,
Are not a child any longer.

You are grown,
And grown means that if you haven’t learned then you won’t.
So your feet will keep walking across us on you way home like we’re nothing.

We are not nothing.

We are people.
And a person is a person no matter their shape, size, skin tone, speech pattern, sexual affiliation, who they love or what their favorite kind of soda is.
We’re still people,
And dear Cleats,
You are not.


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