Queen's Quarterly

Queen's Quarterly
Queen's Quarterly

Canadian Socks

By Ronna Bloom


My navy thermal socks had Canadian flags

sewn on, the size of postage stamps

and no, I didn’t sew them there myself

they came that way. But always I’d feel

proud in my other countries

wearing socks that had seen the insides

of boots designed for skis, those steel

buckles clamping down. And if one fold

of underwear made a lump beneath

the sock, the lump would make a knot of pain

and bruise the leg. And knowing these socks

had lived a sensitive, dutiful life and now

resided in climates where they weren’t essential,

made me feel exotic to myself. At least to my

feet. And tender. Now the socks have

lost their flags, one at a time they came unstuck

and flapped, and then they disappeared.

So many washing machines, so many dryers.

The socks have stayed together, a matching pair,

in spite of the risk, the high rate

of divorce among socks, and despair.

But the flags are gone.

The flags are gone.

This poem first appeared in Queen’s Quarterly 108/4 (Winter 2001).

Ronna Bloom is a teacher, writing coach, and the author of six books of poetry. Her most recent book, The More, was published by Pedlar Press in 2017 and long-listed for the City of Toronto Book Award. Her poems have been recorded by the Canadian National Institute for the Blind and translated into Spanish, Bangla, and Chinese. Ronna runs workshops and gives talks on poetry, spontaneity, and awareness through writing.