Barefoot Sprint

Image of Long Story Short Award - Fall 2020
Image of Poetry
It’s happening again
The thing is happening again
The thing...
It does not strike me in the dead of night,
Nor does it settle in expectedly after a long day.
It reserves its torment for the most idyllic of landscapes
In which I launch into a barefoot sprint,
Arms pumping, forward and backward,
Strides onward into the welcoming green
Until I realize I have to clutch the excess
Billowing of my linen dress,
Lift my skirt up to my knees that’s
Lined with a lacy hem caressing the grasses--
Rough soles on soft soil, feeling every pulse
Of Mother Earth beneath me and within me.
I am alive and gratefully so.

The...thing happens to me
When the sky is bluest, so divinely blue that
I am humbly reminded of my place on Earth
And have to look down only to meet
The most untouched grass cradling baby’s breath
Nourishing the occasional bumblebee
Buzzing alongside
A thousand tiny birds singing,
Stray cats crooning,
Lawnmowers humming,
Autumn leaves crunching,
The thing presents itself in a poofy little cloud
Or a lone droplet on a dawn flower.
How inopportune.

The thing, everybody knows, the Thing
In which Grandma’s cooking becomes stale hay--
Aromatic herbs lose themselves in the prospect of
Chewing, chewing, chewing, and having to swallow.
There is no longer savoring.
Only sustenance.
The Thing in which Mom’s words
Somehow dim the hopefulness of adolescence
Without carrying a single ounce of this intention--
The thing in which Mom’s naturally Mom-like scowl
Makes me forget Mom’s arms during childhood--
The Thing that renders me immobile,
Encased between layers and layers of sheets
Not as a perpetual hug, but a coat of armor--
Curtains drawn, lamp unplugged, lights off, door locked:

I unveil the windows and pry open my eyes after a prolonged lying there,
And witness the grass untread
The sky without her admirer
The symphony of the neighborhood that has lost its audience
And they all beckon for me,
But it takes so much to peel off the armor,
To unzip out of the Thing
And put on a new linen dress
And sprint barefoot as fast as I possibly can
Away from the Thing. Forever this time.

But when the Thing happens,
When it happens to me without forewarning,
I begin to float above the ground.
What I always have and always will want is to float,
Only the difference is I prefer a barefoot sprint
So impossibly fast I don’t touch the ground
Then to simply be suspended.