Matthew Fogarty

The Field of Lost Shoes

The Field of Lost Shoes was consecrated in the spring of the year after the end of the war. The governor and the mayor and all the highest townspeople stood at the middle of the field and each took his turn at the podium to talk of remembrance. They erected a monolith engraved with hex marks, one for each one lost. And even today, cars exit the interstate for it, drive to town’s edge, where there’s a park service office and an audio tour, self-guided, the Field of Lost Shoes now populated by those silent walking souls in headphones who stop at each marker, listening and quietly reflecting.

The teens in the town made a hole in the fence and weekend nights they dare each other to sneak through, to stand in the dark among the weeds and the wildgrass, among the stones, among the lone shoes. It’s said the field is haunted. That the ghosts of shoes past congregate here in their unrest. That to these ghosts this site is sacred and upon this site this park and these teens trespass and trample. That someday in this Field of Lost Shoes there may be an uprising of spirits, a march of the unmatched as ghastly as horrific and lonesome. And so the town waits for what’s coming, waits for their return, keeps the podium near, and most days they mow the wildgrass to short blades in fear of finding more.

Born and raised in the square-mile suburbs of Detroit, Matthew Fogarty is the author of MAYBE MERMAIDS AND ROBOTS ARE LONELY, forthcoming from Stillhouse Press (2016). He has an MFA from the University of South Carolina, where he was editor of Yemassee, and he is Co-Publisher at Jellyfish Highway Press. His fiction has appeared in such journals as Passages North, Fourteen Hills, PANK, Smokelong Quarterly, and Midwestern Gothic. He can be found at