Saturday, 6 March 2021


someone whose shoes I didn’t recognize

by Jan Ball

Sarah’s Inn, a refuge for beaten women,
I discovered when I read a notice
scotch-taped to the mirror in the women’s
fourth floor bathroom, at Loyola Lewis Towers,
downtown Chicago across from the Water
Tower, a pink paper, exposing a confessional
subject in this private, almost cloistered space,
that says, “Call us if you or someone you
know is involved in domestic violence,”
three tear-off tabs already missing. These
speckled marble corridor floors transport people
from all over the world and I’ve heard that some
Asians are known for their wife-beating even today
and I did hear my student in the stall next to me
once gulping sobs and moaning something over
and over again like a chant in a language I
only just recognized as Korean although I
could tell by her shoes who it was anyway, but
there haven’t been many Koreans around so
maybe someone else tore off those little scraps
of paper, someone whose shoes I wouldn’t recognize.

* * * * *

"someone whose shoes I didn't recognize" was first published in Phoebe, 2005. 

Jan Ball has had 337 poems published in various journals including: Atlanta Review, American Journal of Poetry, Calyx, and Phoebe, internationally as well as in the U.S.. Jan’s three chapbooks and full length poetry collection, I Wanted to Dance With My Father, are available from Finishing Line Press and Amazon. She was nominated by Orbis, England, 2020, for a Pushcart award. Jan was a nun or seven years and taught ESL, most recently at the university level. When not traveling, or gardening at their farm, Jan and her husband like to cook for friends.

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