With a wink and grin, Jimmy McBean
could size you right and slip you on that
supple pair of penny loafers
in black and brown or ox-blood shade
for the renegade in our midst
if such a rare soul could be found
with the scratch to cash and carry
perfect fits of tissued leathers,
boxed and bagged for show and saved for
that rare occasion when best foot
first was essentially required.

And in later years, his stroll home
after another round of Keds
and bright red heels never showed signs
of trudge and shoulder sag, not once.
No down-at-the-heels greeting
for the shod-to-be weighed his day.
And when Johnson’s Shoe went south
along with the rest of Main, he would
still be seen stepping out and about
with a good-day whistle and a shine.

He had that knee-high view of all things
above ground did Jimmy McBean.
He figured early on when taking
the long walk over the hill to
the edge of town for that last lie down,
he’d do way better looking up.