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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,

want Daphne

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.


Image by Bree Anne
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