Daphne, Always Running
by adeline loh
Why try to outrun a god? I never run out of reasons to keep
going, forget how much money it costs to live a
possible life. One could argue that Daphne was Ovid’s excuse
for his own oppression. But what would he know
about losing? In the precious few minutes she kept running,
she already lived. How agonising it must have been,
the hot, cloying weight of a future so unbearable, pressing upon
your every step. Bernini makes you walk around his
statue to confirm Apollo’s firm grasp on her waist even as the leaves
sprout in the gaps still between them—as though you, too,
to be caught. This is what it boils down to: the ease with which
defeat settles in as soon as the running stops. My silly little
sometimes lived as a petty conflict between men and their inventions.
Nothing else ahead of me. Nothing more than the blunt
force of shaping your person around the act of keeping on. Every
evergreen leaf paid as the price to arrive: the thickening of
bark, a compromise for light.
Adeline Loh is a writer from Singapore and holds a BA (Hons) in Literature from Yale-NUS College. Her work has been published in literary anthologies and journals, and nominated for the Pushcart Prize and Best New Poets. In the meantime, she crochets, knits, and sews.