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Shoelace by Doug Van Hooser

When I learned to tie my shoes

the knot would awake and stretch

its shoestring arms.

I would run, chance a trip, crush

the laces’ aglet ends into a spider web.

As a scout learn

clove hitch, bowline, sheep bend,

and square: knots fingers have to scrub

to unravel. Now

in the mind’s stomach pit, knots

are dull knives that pry on the past, unable

to puncture now.

The gallows future an empty noose.


Doug Van Hooser has had poetry appear in Chariton Review, Split Rock Review, Sheila-Na-Gig, and Poetry Quarterly among other publications. His fiction can be found in Red Earth Review, Flash Fiction Magazine, and Bending Genres Journal. Doug’s play, “Here Ye, Hear Ye,” will be performed this summer (2019) at McKaw Theatre in Chicago.

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