Frannie Lindsay: "My Mother's Shoes"




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 shearling 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.


Frannie Lindsay's fifth book of poetry, Mercy, will be released by The Word Works in May. She has had recent work published in American Poetry Review, Yale Review, Antioch Review, Poet Lore, Field, and Plume, as well as in the anthology, Best American Poetry 2014.