Janice Lynch Schuster lives near Annapolis, Maryland, where she is Senior Writer for Altarum Institute, a nonprofit health care research and consulting organization. Janice's poetry has appeared in various print and online publications and her articles and op-ed pieces appear frequently in the Washington Post.
Conor Leaves for Europe
And I am talking about shoes:
What he needs to hike and tour.
He is keen on something dapper,
My bespoke man-child eyes
Boots made of wing-tips, thin soled,
Italian, expensive and sharp.
I suggest something sturdier,
More grounded—bullky, but light.
In a trunk of memories, I have his first pair
Of toddler shoes, saved and scuffless
From the days his feet rarely touched the ground.
He raced upstairs and, afraid he would come unbalanced,
I lured him back to me with a lollipop,
My fear invisible to him behind the treat.
I attached bells to the shoes.
Our house rang with explorations.
There will be no more bells,
Though I listen for his progress.
Whether the boots are stylish or stodgy
They will take him away from me.
Wasn’t that my job, to set him free,
Wild with his curiosity and longing,
The whole world a flight of stairs,
Me at the bottom, waving him on?