top of page

advice to my sister runners

Jess Woolford

dress to suppress

step into sack sweats

hide inside hoodie

no shape: too ugly to rape

or so they say


a luxury ALWAYS

tell a friend you’re going where exactly when intend return

favourite route?

summoning you far

from here/now delivering you to dirt roads

reeds red-wing raucous

senior trees’ shelter

severing tedium’s tether?


vary your course

every run resist








for superior security shuffle incessantly

should you detest math much as I

do remember these complex calculations

could keep you quick

music to melt miles?

too risky

eliminate earbuds

heave headphones

prick up pinnae perpetually

in other words AT ALL TIMES

you hear me? no?

then how hope

hear panel van

stealing up behind?


study self-defence too

dear or distant like say abortion?

google grab moves

practice PUSH PINION PUMMEL plan

suss sundry scenarios

multiply ‘til your dendrites droop

‘neath hand to hand demands

assemble allies: enact


offer refreshments

call it a party

visit vet

scapulae strip

needle nip

and presto change-

o! you are micro-

chipped like fido

jaunt to gym

trot treadmill or track

pretend no one’s assessing your ass

pretend same old

same old doesn’t deplete you

gallop with group safety in numbers and so on and so forth ad infinitum

what’s that?

you sprint to savour

solitude clear your head?

you know better we all do

but should you run rogue

wear winchester

hump it down highway

‘til cops confiscate

afterwards conceal cutter ‘cause

oh my sisters

a girl needs a knife


Jess Woolford

Jess Woolford is an essayist, memoirist, poet, and literary critic who lives and works on Treaty 1 Territory in Winnipeg, Manitoba. In addition to other publications, her poetry has appeared in The Ecological Citizen, Prairie Fire Magazine, and Contemporary Verse 2, while her life writing has been anthologized in Without Apology: Writings on Abortion in Canada and In the Company of Animals: Stories of Extraordinary Encounters. Woolford has also written for Social Politics, The Winnipeg Free Press, and The Winnipeg Review.


bottom of page