The Monkey Climbs the Tree, as the Turtle Watches
by Isabel Yap
Hand over hand, Matsing thinks,
it's a stale old argument, but the bananas
bunched on the tree still look delicious:
beacons in the shape of fat baby hands.
Below, Pagong shouts, remember, we're friends
right now! but is already thinking of where
to place the broken glass, has already picked out
potential hiding spots. How to reconsider
the inevitable end: some shouting, some
drowning, a lake with bodies bloated
from the same cautionary tale, an overturned
shell, discarded bandages the color of rust. Still
the poison fruit grows again each time, still
the handshake, the promise to share: so sweet;
still so likely, at least in the beginning.
Isabel Yap's works have appeared on Tor.com, Interfictions, Nightmare Magazine, Bloodroot Literary Journal, and Frostwriting. She grew up in the Philippines and studied in the California Bay Area. She likes fairytales and folktales and hopes to keep discovering (or rediscovering) them. She is a graduate of the 2013 Clarion Writers workshop, and a recipient of the Academy of American Poets Tamara Verga Prize. You can find her on Twitter as @visyap, and more of her writing at IsaLikesWords.
Photography: adapted from Turtle, by Axel Naud.