From Modern Mythcraft to Magical Surrealism

Great Sage, Protector of Horses

Handsome Monkey King, Great Sage
Equal to Heaven, we appeal
with dusty knees and shoulders
aching to match our hearts.
Hear us, once-
Protector of Horses,
forever marked by the love
of thundering diamond hooves
and brocade snouts. We call

never in mockery, but desperation
for solidarity. Look kindly
upon the grooms that the world
has molded after you, ignored
when all is well, blamed for any
irregularity. Bless us beasts
burdened and bred for tedium.
Watch over us poor monkeys
shoved into stables unmoving/
unmoved. For what is a human
if not an ape, blessed
with extra cheek?

If we are to be chewed
into our component hairs,
let us be reborn splendid, o King.
Dress us in tigerskin. Transmute us
seventy-twice. Make us cudgel-flexible.
Deliver us from our trigrams fire-eyed,
breakable no longer. Let us find
paradise behind these waterfalls
battering us flat.

We may not all become Buddhas,
Splendid Monkey, when we fight bare-
toothed, our victory is
not guaranteed. But still
we pray: when we double
somersault for triumph,

let us not miss.

May Chong

May Chong

May Chong is a bi Chinese Malaysian poet, speculative writer, and multiple Rhysling nominee. Her verse has been published in Strange Horizons, Anathema Magazine, Apparition Literary, Bending Genres, and Eye to the Telescope. When she’s not coaxing words out of her keyboard, she enjoys birdwatching, video games, spoken word (on both sides of the mic), and the worst possible puns. She is currently working on her first full-length collection of speculative poetry and thinking nerdy things out loud on Twitter as @maysays.