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The End of the Vacation

Ronnie Hess
In August my mother
took out pencil and brown paper,
drew an outline of my left foot
then my right, folded the paper
and sent it in an envelope
to the shoe salesman
beyond the bay.

All that summer I had gone shoeless,
running along the beach, diving
into the ocean, traipsing across the island,
my bare heels hardening,
stubbing my toes on walks.

In September a package arrived
at the post office. My mother
opened the box, watched as I tried on
new brown saddle oxfords, laced them,
felt the confines of their unforgiving leather,
imagined the city’s cement streets,
the cloistered school, its gates waiting.
Madison Poet Laureate, Madison Public Library Poet-in-Residence
Why I chose this poem: 

Ronnie Hess is an essayist and poet, author of five poetry chapbooks and two culinary travel guides. Her work has also been featured in several poetry anthologies. She has served as Chair of the Wisconsin Poet Laureate Commission and Secretary of the Wisconsin Fellowship of Poets. She is a Board member of The Friends of Lorine Niedecker. She has taught poetry- and creative non-fiction-writing classes in a variety of settings, including at The Leigh Yawkey Woodson Museum and UW-Whitewater’s High School Creative Writing Festival. She lives in Madison.

Poem source: 

Through This Door: Wisconsin in Poems

Through This Door