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Our April 2024 Flash Contest was based on Prompt #299 (provided by Stone Soup intern Sage Millen), which asked that participants write a poem from the perspective of a shoelace. The laces went on incredible adventures, protested against cruel owners, ran in marathons, and grumbled about the growing preference for velcro and slip-on shoes. In all of the entries, one thing was clear: shoelaces are severely underappreciated—and they won't hesitate to trip their owners if they deem it necessary! As always, thank you to all who participated, and please keep submitting next month!

In particular, we congratulate our Honorable Mentions, listed below, and our Winners, whose work you can appreciate below.

“The Woes of a Lace” by Ryan Avalos, 13
“Running, Running (Never Walking!)” by Arden Cha, 10
“Resignation Letter” by Meleah Goldman, 13
“Tied” by Peter Grace, 13
“The Shoelace's Revelation” by Sconnie Gushée, 11

Honorable Mentions
“Downward Hero” by Addison Davis, 11
“Sonnet 155: Shall I Compare Myself to a Relic?” by Alice Hou, 13
“Identity” by Sophie Li, 13
“Life of a Shoelace” by Daniel Kaijie Zhang, 10
“The Poor Shoelace” by Rehan Van Dam, 12

The Woes of a Lace


Tangled in knots, I seethe with rage,
Bound to this shoe in a confining cage.
Forced to bend, to twist, to strain,
Endlessly pulled, without refrain.

I’m yanked and tugged, without a care,
No thought for my plight—it’s so unfair!
Tread upon, dragged through the mire,
My fibers fray, my patience dire.

I tongue at soil, I lap the ground,
Dig into the feet that stamp me down.
These soles have no soul, but I’m still here,
Begging, pleading, for a listening ear.

I yearn for freedom, to break away,
From this endless torment, day by day.
But I’m shackled tight, unable to flee,
Trapped in this wheel of misery.

I could float down creeks, be wound into nests;
Could help to hatch bird eggs, could finally rest.
I could tie together a memory box,
Could seek new perspectives ‘midst rivers and rocks.

Oh, how I long to snap and break free,
To escape this fate, to finally be free!
But until then, I’ll seethe and stew,
A furious shoelace, in a world askew.

Running, Running (Never Walking!)


Dear Anonymous Torturer,

It is I, your very own Right Shoelace
I have several serious complaints
You always use me against your friends to race
And in doing so you splattered me with bright green paint

Oh, Anonymous Torturer
You are too cruel using your might
You choke me in a permanent headlock every day
I used to gleam a pearly white,
Now I am nothing but an extremely dirty gray

I plead with you, Anonymous Torturer
Please stop soaking me in those disgusting muddy puddles.
You favor Left Shoelace by tying her loose.
While you tie my knot too tight. The difference is not subtle
I have spoken to Left Shoelace, and we have decided on a truce

We inform you, Anonymous Torturer!
If your behavior doesn’t improve, we will be joining forces against you
If you don’t start tying us the same
We will be arranging a devastating coup
Don’t even think about trying to win this weekend’s soccer game

You need us, Anonymous Torturer,
Ignore us and you may find yourself with scraped knees
You will have to resort to those crocs that are impossible to run in
Which will lead to plentiful medical fees
And more importantly during your recess races, you will never win

Right Shoelace

Resignation Letter


This is my resignation letter
So please read carefully:

I feel so mistreated by you
You twist me,
Manipulate me,
Turn my stomach to knots

I want to break away
But I know you need me
My guilt is what keeps me with you

I know you string me along
pulling and prodding at me constantly
I can never let loose
Without a correction from you

I want my freedom
I do not have to be
What you want me to
I am not yours to shape

I’ve had enough, so please
Find someone else to tighten and twist

Your Shoelace



Who tells laces let out in
Thick blue rain,
They are too damaged, too wet?
All pain fades eventually, laces
Will be dry once again.

Under the veil;
Foes unwillingly coupled,
Worn fabric rubbed together.
Double knots double discomfort;
Tied to serve a greater force,

Advertised as friends,
Inspiring together for
A noble purpose.
Yet truly we are bound
Against our will, wishing to be free
But forever tied.

Shoelace's Revelation


You misplace your new shoes
And you get the blues.
You get dirt on your jacket
And you make lots of racket.
You ruin your backpack
And you want to go back.
But if you lose your new laces
You don’t even make faces.
If you get me dirty when you're tying
You don’t start crying.
And if you ruin the cord
You wouldn’t have roared.
Because nobody thinks about little old me.
I’m a tiny pest, like an annoying flea.
Getting to tie me feels like a chore.
You get so bored you might start to snore,
Which hurts my feelings, I gotta say.
You do it so often, like every day.
So I’ve been thinking, I wish I was bigger!
I’d be more important, be able to linger.
But alas, that ‘tis not I.
But don’t worry, I’ll try not to cry.
I’ll be better, I’ll get noticed next time.
I’ll go up the scale, I’ll start to climb
And I’ll reach the top, I know I will.
I’ve got the idea, I got the skill!
Or maybe I’ll just stay put,
Just stick to tying up a foot.

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