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 could hear them 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 a bow and maybe fasten
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 astonishment as if one
Mortified by going into the street half-shod,
I bent to the lace, tied it up. Now
I felt the shoe pinching me tight, not only that,
But I'd 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 out your shoe's undone,
Don't bend down, look them straight
With your head up high and say:
"You know what, I like it that way."

© Paul Archer - All Rights Reserved