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Anne Frank’s High Heels

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Miep managed to snap them up for 27.50 guilders. Burgundy-colored 
suede and leather  ...    
                                              — Anne Frank, Tuesday, August 10, 1943

When Miep took us home with her
She held us up in the air,

Eye-level with those eyes
You may know, eyes spelling

Sorrow-girl, wait-for-me,
Happiness-around-a-corner-

One-day, hurry-back, don’t-tell.
Two new hands took us in,

Skin cradling skin.
How empty we had been,

Only a little bit worn —
Not a penny, not a pebble

Dwelling within.
We became an altar,

An offering red as wine,
A wishing well.

She was made to carry us
Near and far,

We were made to bear
The pressure of her feet

In darkness, in light,
Their sweetness, their heat.

We were getting used to her.
Miep calls us a handsome pair.

Source: Poetry (June 2014)

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This poem originally appeared in the June 2014 issue of Poetry magazine

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Anne Frank’s High Heels

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  • Born in Paterson, New Jersey, Phillis Levin is a graduate of Sarah Lawrence College and the Writing Seminars at Johns Hopkins University. She is the author of five poetry collections: Temples and Fields (University of Georgia Press, 1988), winner of the Poetry Society of America’s Norma Farber First Book Award; The Afterimage (Copper Beech Press, 1995); Mercury (Penguin, 2001); May Day (Penguin, 2008); and Mr. Memory & Other Poems (Penguin, 2016). She is the editor of The Penguin Book of the Sonnet: 500 Years of a Classic Tradition in English (Penguin, 2001). Her poems have appeared in the New Yorker, the Atlantic, Poetry magazine, Kenyon Review, the Nation, Paris Review, AGNI, Grand Street, the Yale Review, the New Republic, the New York Times Sunday Magazine, Southwest Review, PN Review, Poetry London, and the Poetry Review (UK), and have been featured in three editions of The Best American Poetry as well as numerous other anthologies, including Poetry 180,...

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