Jan FitzGerald


Platform Shoes

Feeling a blister rubbing, she clops across The Railway Station Gallery, and leans against the wall. Stuffing the new shoes into her large handbag, she stands back and takes stock of the surroundings. The art director’s desk is abandoned. A pleasant coolness from the floorboards soothes her swollen feet. She begins to understand why some artists paint without the restriction of clothing. Perhaps she could paint again. One day when she has the time. . .

She peers into the frame of a large painting, as if into a carriage window looking for a loved one or a teddy bear from childhood.

A journey begins to wrap itself around her. This is it, Baby, coming aboard?

She steps up and out of her life.

No more sucking on lattes for salvation. No more bosses with the eyes of dead fish gloating at her typos. She pushes her sunglasses back on her head, breathes in the haze of pastels, the passing countryside that swells with a chorus of blackbirds.

She is the wind’s innocence, the scent of blossom. Open as the weave of a wicker chair, she listens to trees singing to the rivers, rivers telling stories to the land. This is the journey she never knew she was waiting for.

Leaving her shoes on top of a tin marked Donations to the Artist, she tiptoes down the stairs, back into the shady, narrow street. Her heart holding the sunlight of the valley where wild horses grazed.



Jan FitzGerald (b. 1950) has been in NZ mainstream literary journals including Landfall and Poetry NZ since the 1970s, and in recent years in those of the UK including The London Magazine and Acumen. She is a full-time artist living in Napier, NZ, with two published books Flying Against the Arrow (Wolfdale Publishing) and On a Day like This (Steele Roberts, Wellington, NZ).