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Switch—Mehrnoosh Torbatnejad

There is a bench

outside the courthouse

where visitors rest, where women

pause to plant one leg on concrete,

while the other bends,

foot pressed

against the steel edge of the bench,

haul files over their shoulder,

sling bag over the other,

and slide off slippers or clear away clogs,

unload penny loafers, transfer tennis shoes,

remove rainboots, depose deck shoes

frantically switch to a pair of heels

Weak soles rub off and comfort is tossed

Tap, tap, tap is the pulse

of replaced footgear,

as both legs land back

on ground, not round

but upon slim, sleek sticks,

she clicks, up the steps

to her second home, and in

the courtroom, head stays above,

she trains stray dogs,

lands hard on his heels, but

none would matter had she not

switched against steel

When officers bark

and shout come to heel,

when they quiet her voice

the clack, clack, clack

of her raised platform

is a boundless echo,

resonates in court walls deep

and forever

It is only then she

can make a sound

that they have no choice

but to remember

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