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Poetry by REN PIKE


At the heart of everything there is rebar

Steadfast, it labors. Holding the world 
together. Not brash and self-serving,
more quiet–I got this. It's undeniable. Set 
in its ways. Inflexible. It waits for you 
to come to it. Only stabbing you in the foot 
or the calf if you've wandered knee-deep 
in murky waters or construction hells. 
It's kind of reassuring how it shows no bias. 
Upholding all sorts of supremely lovely 
and also–let's be honest–shit architecture 
that should never have been built, was 
opposed by the community but constructed 
anyway, because some rich dumbbell wanted 
to make an obscene profit. That's how rebar rolls. 
Kind of wobbly and heavy. Unattractive yet 
essential. Ready. With a rough and crusty exterior. 
Tending to erode if exposed. Totally built 
to be buried. Uplifting. It promises to persist.
To re-emerge. It counts on the drip drip drip of history 
to eat away at its cement-ary goodness. 
Until its steely fingers can reach into your 
streams and reservoirs. Catching your discarded 
tires. Making whirlpools of your cages.

Romantic tale of chivalry

I was walking down by the river
near where that girl was 
dragged from her path 
and raped
left for dead did die
it's a beautiful spot 

with the cottonwoods 
sweeping their branches
trunks tilting out over the water
mature trees no doubt
start out straight and narrow
then time and events 
happen keep happening
winter ice heaves
spring floods surge
carrying away rocks
eroding soil banks collapse
tearing out entire root systems
over and over
every year things shift
lean further 

when they found her she was lying on her side 
naked in the new growth
thin upright branches sprouting near the tree base
sent up as a call for help arborists say 
when conditions aren't right
suckers are a sign of environmental stress
often seen in urban hell strips
the river path is rife 

it rained that night but nothing reached her
investigators said sheltering greenery preserves evidence 
which they carefully collected and transported
catalogued and crosschecked not that it helped 
the men who assaulted her those guys are long gone 
and likely still around
the path is well maintained for rapid commuting
to and from work


Ren Pike is originally from Newfoundland. Through sheer luck, she was born into family who understood the exceptional value of a library card. She has completed physics, computer science and education degrees, as well as a poetry course or two. She's worked at a variety of jobs, in a bazillion different places. Remote and urban. Foreign and domestic. Right now, she's helping community-minded non-profits wring meaning from data in Calgary, Canada. She writes, whenever possible. Her work has been published in Antilang and Gyroscope Review. She can be found on Twitter @sputta.

Be sure to check out this exclusive interview with Ren on the Orson’s Publishing blog.