Do you think this will work? my friend Hank asked, thrusting a black tennis shoe my way. I didn’t. Nothing he had did so I bought him some new shoes, black, our favorite color, the color of night, mystery, Johnny Cash. I told him that he could use the shoes for a long time, no matter what happened with the job. He didn’t get it, despite all the efforts for the good, to sit up straight, etc. A year later he fell in his old black tennis shoes, no match for black ice. He died. You can’t make this shit up, he’d say whenever something weird happened, and I thought of it, peering into his open casket. I recognized his outfit, the same one he wore for the interview. His mother told me that he was wearing almost new shoes, some she’d found in his closet, worn only once or twice, did I know where they came from because they looked expensive, something he probably wouldn’t have been able to afford.

MICHELLE BROOKS has published a collection of poetry, Make Yourself Small, (Backwaters Press), and a novella, Dead Girl, Live Boy, (Storylandia Press). Her poetry collection, Flamethrower, will be published by Latte Press in 2019. A native Texan, she has spent much of her adult life in Detroit.