The Ceremony of the Shoes

Embedded in the living towards the end lies a narrative about love under fatal duress. It is a space that refines courage and fosters an unexpected elegance. Frannie Lindsay’s poem below is about how this elegance, born of love and devotion, plays itself out in the daily ceremony of the shoes…

My Mother’s Shoes
by Frannie Lindsay

Toward the end she only wore
her brown ones, the Velcro not quite
holding anymore; toes scuffed
from Wednesday ballroom class,
sand for melting snow embedded
in the soles. She had others:
concert pumps, her sheading slippers,
flip-flops for the Cape. These stayed
lined up beneath her dresses, expectant,
but her husband always fetched
the brown ones, helped her
to the armchair, eased the crew socks
past her bunions, rubbed
her vein-mapped calves, slipped
the left one then the right one on
the way a kindergarten teacher helps
a scared new pupil into her galoshes; then
he placed each foot, each gorgeous foot,
against the wheelchair’s rests, and
wheeled her deferentially
to the dining hall for breakfast.