What we accept often bears no relation to what is.


Truisms, more often than I would like to admit,
turn out not to be true
And I am fond of pointing out
that wherever one travels in this world,
from Brazil to Madagascar,
Ethiopia to the steppes of Russia,
anywhere and everywhere,
people tie their shoelaces in the same way
Except Canadians

I don’t know why it is, this special talent of Canadians
to be unlike the world,
to twist a lace the wrong way ’round
and build the bow from bottom topward,
ending upside down
But it’s true and I saw it proven
just last night, when an un-named native
of that second-largest country
bent to tie her shoe

And I was dumbfounded, I admit it freely
at a loss and embarrassed for her
when she said ‘that’s how we do it’
and smiled, thus branding an entire population
backward, consigning a nation to under-loops
And yet watch carefully the next time a Canuck
ties their shoes, look for the furtive glance,
a tell-tale covering the bow with cupped hands,
the reason why so many wear loafers

It could be cold winters, the isolation of the tundra
or merely considering curling a sport
that breaks the universal legacy,
the father to son,
the mother to daughter
of laces wrapped over fingers, left to right
Yet it’s there, a brand upon the forehead
Canadians held apart from the civilized world
unskilled, unknowing, blinded to their fault

Poetry Collection: Broken Pieces
This poem is included in
Jim Freeman’s
poetry collection
available here in print
or as an e-Book
in your favorite formats.