"Aesop’s Hydraulics" by Rena Su



i) For Aesop’s Rabbit

with observations from the tortoise


O you chase the wind

and shear the ground beneath your steps;

wind-up ligaments unwinding and unfurling

sowed into the horizon


you can taste the iron

on my lips

and the jealousy in my strides

the weeping cedars across my face

and the legato in my footwork


i can feel the laugh exude from your molars

the mock escape your hydraulic bones

it wraps tight around me like cashmere

but i starve away the infection

as you become an alloy with sleep


i continue to carry my spine

like sisyphus

across the melting skies

O i squint my eyes to see

you as you become

more of a fable


ii) For Aesop’s Tortoise

with observations from the rabbit


the compass woven into my skull

hums towards the finish line

i lace myself into a blur as you fade into

an asphalt memory


i convey my run in magnetism towards

a setting sun and i marinate myself

until i dissolve into the

creekside with the tailwinds


when the moon asked me why i ran

i said that i have been struck by an arrow

that hollowed my heart

so i pray to an agile religion to patch away the abyss;

memorialize my ribs


you are chained to the earth with

your clockwork feet and woe

to your wayward steps


i leave my body beneath a rotting tree

to run faster again within

some fever dream i once had




Rena Su is from Vancouver, Canada. Her debut chapbook, Preparing Dinosaurs for Mass Extinction (ZED Press) will be released in summer 2021. You can find her on Twitter @RenaSuWrites

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