The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: Head to Toe of It by Rikki Santer

This selection, chosen by Guest Curator Genevieve Pfeiffer, is from Head to Toe of It by Rikki Santer, released by Kelsay Books in 2021. 

Well Shod

They gentrify the old West with python & ostrich
or click the homesick heels of ruby, the lazy
slip-on slip-off of loafers, inventions of slogans pithy—
moon shoes: mini trampolines for your tootsies. My father’s
army of polished Florsheim nines line up in his closet
in his closet like an obedient narrow-sized parade, my new
daisy Kmart sandals for flirty cheese fries on opening day
of the fair, splotches of chocolate milkshake assault
my saddled oxfords which in turn deliver a bruise
(the size of a coconut) on the mean bitch shin of schoolmate,
negative heels only make campus hills steeper but college
boyfriend’s blue suede shoes make me fall in love for a lifetime,
I ain’t no dominatrix but I know how to work thigh-high boots
intimate as skin, then tibial tendon surgery cause my stilettos
to mutiny. Arrogance of jeweled soles that patronize others
to manipulate their bootstraps, how to shoe the world, dominance
of Air Jordans dangle from a power line, at the sit-in we throw
frenzied sneakers at the mayor, too many screenshots of her
Jimmy Choos but not worse than those evil stepsisters cutting
off their heel or toes. Gibran believed that the earth is always
jazzed whenever it feels our soles bare but we also stand tall
in shoes that resemble buildings, armadillos, or handcrafted
in the wee hours by elves. Wear dreams on your feet my
mother cooed, dew-sprinkled sprigs of rosemary and thyme
tucked overnight under tongues.

Rikki Santer’s poetry has received many honors including six Pushcart and three Ohioana and Ohio Poet book award nominations as well as a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Humanities. Her eleventh poetry collection, Stopover, which is in conversation with the original Twilight Zone series, was recently published by Luchador Press. She is also a member of the teaching artist roster of the Ohio Arts Council, a vice president of the Ohio Poetry Association, and a member of the poetry troupe Concrete Wink.

Genevieve Pfeiffer is a poet, writer, and scholar. Their masters project at New York University explores ideological shifts around birth control & abortion and their intersections with nature & culture. Read more about this project at the link below.


Leave a Reply