One Poem by Rennie Halstead

Written in response to this month’s Special Challenge.


Thank you for helping,
for loosening my shoes,
for letting my feet breathe.

My mother meant to be kind.
Every mother would want
to make her daughter beautiful.
You were the same:
you bound my feet so tightly,
clean soft white linen
tied so tight it hurt.
I complained.
You will thank me, she said,
when you have a good husband.

They say it makes me beautiful
perching on misshapen feet.
Lotus, they call it –
claws to me.
Walking hurts. I mince,
short slow steps
to ease the pain.

They wanted to bind my daughter’s feet,
were surprised when I said no,
insisted, unbending, stronger
than I had ever been.
No, I said, my daughter
will have the feet she needs
to walk the way she wishes
to find her own path,
not crippled to please
some unthinking man
who doesn’t know the pain.


Rennie has been writing since he was eleven. He writes poetry and flash fiction. You can find his poetry on his ello site at:

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