Mia Kang is an Oregon-born, Texas-raised, Brooklyn-based writer, recently named a runner-up for the 2017 Discovery/Boston Review Poetry Contest. Her writing appears or is forthcoming in Poetry Northwest, The Margins, and Black Heart Magazine, and she has received the Academy of American Poets College Prize among others. In the spring of 2017, she is a Brooklyn Poets Fellow.

​​H E R M E N E U T I C   C H A O S   J O U R N A L

B Y   M I A   K A N G

A U R E L I A N   I

I view the Aurelian Wall as a leading protagonist on the Roman stage 
between the third and ninth centuries, an approach perhaps susceptible 
to objections about putting—forgive me—the Wall before the horse.


         —from The Aurelian Wall and the Refashioning of Imperial Rome, 
             AD 271-855, Hendrik W. Dey

Say a wall and a horse do meet
on a dry day in some in-between century.
Say the horse is sweating, resplendent, embarrassed

and full of secret hope. A horse is a good
vehicle, and a wall is a good listener. Say the wall
is long. The horse

can walk alongside it. Does a horse aspire
to jump a wall taller than its own
head? A horse can be

a heart in a poem, or at least at
the heart of the poem. Its tail flicks,
brushing the wall. What is it, horse?

No one asks
the wall its business here. 
Say the horse is a diversion,

a regal moving-forward machine.
Say the wall’s been watching
the tomfoolery forever, counts

one wish for every block of stone.
Sure, a wall could yearn. Say the wall 
wishes it had legs.