poem #134

Glenwood Avenue,
car exhaust shimmer and broken bottle shards
scattered on the sidewalk like confetti.
I’m watching my feet,
careful of the jagged glass,
the foam of weeds,
the uneven, failing concrete.
My earbuds don’t quite drown out the traffic.
In my right hand, I feel the water sloshing
in my water bottle, tucked in the pocket
is the inhaler
and the pepper spray
that I pray I won’t confuse.

I’ve run like this before,

circling a baseball field on a makeshift track,
a path etched in the dirt,
my father sitting in the bleachers
with his stopwatch
and yelling discouragement.
My walkman in my right hand,
never loud enough,
the watchful clouds
and zazen trees
my solace as I run
past urgent drumbeats,
past frantic heartbeats.

When he hit me,
I didn’t get up.

I’ve run like this before,
careening through the woods,
down the leaf-strewn path,
leaping over the tiny creek, skidding
on round pebbles,
mud clinging to my shoes,
my arms desperately deflecting branches
from my face until I crash
into the open sky blue,
and the railroad tracks are laid out before me like promises,
and I run across the ties,
feet smacking the wood,
just a little farther into forever.

Into the tall, weedy grass,
the secret hilltop, the consecrated night,
laying in the stardust, watching the stars fall
in love, watching the moon divide,
watching the horizon
lift the sun
again.

I’ve run like this before,

where stillness and motion are the same,
and my breath is the glassy air,
the setting sun, the ineffable twilight,
I am the running,
I am the stillness,
I am all that I ever was,
I am all that I ever will be,
I am everything,
I am nothing,
I am,
now.


I’m evidently making up for all the haiku. Don’t worry. There will likely be more haiku or tanka tomorrow.

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