On the Invention of Shoes

by STUART DISCHELL

I would like to shake the hand of the first person Who shod the foot for protection against stones And barbs, the snow, the heat of the ground, etc... * I think of the sandals of the legions and the importance of cobblers When walking was the major form of transportation, and of the feet Of thousands of pilgrims along the trails to Campostella. * And of our friend’s shelf along the wall just above the floor Where he kept the ones he favored. He was a manly person And they were oxfords and brogues and boots. * I walked around the city many times but found not But what I sought among the processions: What good fortune it is to live in an age of great shoes. * Innovators of sole and insole, lace and eyelet, Vamp and upper, welt and medial, heel and tongue, Sing to me of the open road!

STUART DISCHELL is the author of four books of poems, most recently Backwards Days from Penguin Poets. A new chapbook, Standing on Z, is forthcoming from Unicorn Press. Carnegie University Press will be re-issuing his first two collections, Evenings & Avenues and Good Hope Road in its Contemporary Classics Series. He teaches in the MFA program at the University of North Carolina Greensboro.