Paul Archer - photo Paul Archer - poet, translator



Loose-lace Shoes

Here's what happened on my way home
not half an hour ago: the laces came undone
on one of my shoes - the right one.
I heard the laces ticking, their ends
flicking on the pavement,
I saw them arcing with each step,
bobbing, cartwheeling, somersaulting.
I should've stopped to pull them tight
and thread them into a bow and fastened
the bow upon itself to make sure -
but out of laziness, or not wanting to
break my flow or make an obstacle
in the path of others, or for whatever reason,
I kept on walking and added an extra
unaccustomed dimension to a familiar walk.
For my right foot felt freer and freer,
as if it was easing itself into another life,
as if it was a bare foot sinking into sand,
or an Indian tracker's on a wild trail -
though, as it was only the right foot,
I was only halfway there - but still...

I paused at a crossing's light, a lady
nodded her head down: "Your shoelace..."
"Oh," feigning surprise and shame
as if caught half-naked rather than
merely half-shod, I bent to tie the lace.
Now I felt the shoe pinching me tight,
squeezing my foot to its shape,
fettering my freedom, for I had
taken on the character of that shoe,
all strait-laced, sensible, dusty and dull,
just like anyone-else on the street that day,
or rather, now, not like Someone.
So when your shoelace next springs loose
let it stay that way for a while,
be the only shoelace-loose stranger
on the street, or the whole town,
and if anyone dares to point and say
that your shoe-lace is undone,
don't bend down, look them straight
in the eye with your head held high
and reply: "You know what, I like it that way."

© Paul Archer - All Rights Reserved