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He wore shoes a size too small

by Doug Holder

They always told him
“Contain yourself.”
And what surged through
him stopped at his feet.
The blood
bursting through
the crooked tributaries of his toes
the contours
of each foot’s
arching vein.
It splashed
against the
leathery walls,
the black shoelaces
curved like
a hunchback’s spine
diving to the
to be
by his gait
in the
of the

Doug Holder’s work has been featured in The Brooklyn Voice, LUMMOX Journal, Poesy, PRESA, and many others. He is founder of the Ibbetson Street Press, and he teaches writing at Bunker Hill Community College in Boston and Endicott College in Beverly, Mass. For the past 25 years he has led poetry workshops for psych. patients at McLean Hospital outside of Boston. His latest collection of poetry is ” Eating Grief at 3A.M.” ( Muddy River Books)