Dawn Terpstra is from Iowa where she leads a communications team. Her poetry appears in current and forthcoming publications, Main Street Rag, Ekphrastic Review, MER VOX, The Night Heron Barks, Briar Cliff Review, and SWWIM. Her work was selected as Honorable Mention in the Midwest Review's 2021 Great Midwest Poetry Contest. Her chapbook, Songs from the Summer Kitchen, is forthcoming in September from Finishing Line Press.
Letter to Red Stilettos
You were sex in a box,
flame with high shine and curve
to bring form and line to my ordinary
foot and leg – a bright sizzle to my sashay.
I was powerful, you beneath a tailored suit,
caliente with a sundress on the patio,
denim and mystique with martini or merlot
in boho wine bars and smoky nightclubs.
Remember campaigns approved in board
rooms? Your twin torches were passed
from this corporate woman to others.
Remember you, dangling from a toe, as I
listened with a smile on a bar stool
or from an adjacent seat in coach?
Remember our pain, navigating pot-holed
Manhattan, and traversing broken sidewalks
in Boston’s Back Bay?
After that mile-long convention hall
and cobblestoned Mardi Gras,
our callouses endured.
Façade and utility are distant cousins, sweetheart.
I hope you find ease in these pink-slipped days.
You are non-essential on walks to the mailbox,
fetch with the dog, sourdough bread Sundays.
You’re an outlier on Zoom.
Does this letter comfort you in your box, high on a shelf?
I promise that years from now when a wheelchair
is my ride, I’ll face my reflection, crave a martini
from the bar, cue the jazz band, and raise a glass
to you, to me, and to all the women we are.