by Emmalyn Bee
And whenever the damned shoelaces
sneak up on me from behind
frightening my left eye with their tangled spirit I end up saying the wrong word to my dearest starfish who by the way should never be allowed to travel alone home at dusk.
0 thoughts on “The Knot”
Simple but tough to untie. I like how it flows through its four lines as a complete sentence not knotted up by punctuation but letting the line breaks do most of the work. The poem does flow, contrary to the title. What is the knot: “the damned shoelaces” ‘ “tangled spirit?” Something that ties you up “from behind?,” the past? Seems from the word “frightening” and the cautionary end of the poem to be a pursuer. My first thought was the shoelaces had come untied and were trailing–sneaking up from behind–to trip the person, but then why the knot? Anyway, “whenever” tells us this keeps on happening. “My left eye” has a singularly sinister connotation, yet it’s the one that’s frightened. Now I’m thinking there’s a direct contrast between “damned shoelaces” and “dearest starfish” that’s tied somehow to the sneaky shoelaces frightening the poet into saying “the wrong word” to the starfish, which needs protection, if only in a “by the way” afterthought. Could it be the poem is trying not to get knotted up by conventions but be free in its associations, and thereby getting itself and us into trouble, intriguingly, engagingly so? Are we allowed to get home safe from this poem?