Whitman’s Shoes

No one thought to preserve Walt Whitman’s shoes. They were hand made, sturdy, water marked, the instep heels worn by pronation. It’s a fancy, my trick to be happy, imagining his shoes came from the Brooklyn shop of Edward Horsman who stitched New York’s first baseballs. He peeled rubber from dead boots, molded it into spheres, covered them with sheep’s hide and sent them to the Atlantic Baseball Club and those balls were judged the finest to be had. I imagine Whitman’s shoes were made from the scraps of those “lively” baseballs–see the poet walking down to the field, 1862, to watch the first home runs in an age of darkness.