AR (3-2-1945 / California)

I, The Runner

Two miles, three miles, just getting started
My legs are just getting warm and limber
My breathing now synchronized
There’s an air loneliness
Only the chirping of the birds
And the rustling of the leaves can be heard
Yet there is a silence, so my huffing and puffing are distinct
My mind wanders, thinking of too many things at one time
I see a hill approaching
That soon becomes a wall with steep steps
I have to change my strides
To a choppy, tense dance as if running in place
At the top I grin from ear to ear in relief
The once hidden sun now flashes
Blood rushes through my legs as if a dam had been broken
Then like a little boy on a mound of dirt
I stumble downward almost uncontrollably
My heart beats faster and faster
Till I reach what seems like a bottomless pit
Four miles, going on five, I move on
As if on a road march having been drilled to perfection
Though alone, the body is fully energized
Taking fresh fuel from the pine trees that line the road
In the distance I see a farmhouse and plenty of pasture
Horses and cows give me blank stares as I trot by
Five miles, almost six, my legs reach out
To grab more ground and pull it to me
With a second wind, I prance freely, nothing holding me back
The miles come quickly
Then I see what looks like an onrushing mountain
For a split second my heart stops and I feel totally weak
Yet I continue with grunts and moans
I must capture that hill
Looking up I see rays of light sneaking over the top
My legs begin to feel as if filled with lead
And I strain to pull in air and blow it back out
The last few strides seem like forever
At last, completely exhausted I reach the apex of exaltation
Here I am revived by a blast of ocean breeze
So heavily salted I almost choke
Yet the coolness soothes my tired torso
Wishing the splashing waves could wrap their arms around me
I let gravity take hold and clumsily descend the two-faced mountain
In what seems seconds, wet sand meets my feet
Softly I sink and magnetically greet the advancing shore
Kneeling, the wetness crawls up my thighs and spits into my face
I love it and as it leaves I beg for more
Quickly and quietly my body settles into that of a sun worshipper
I, the runner lay down on natures’ mattress
As my skin hungers for the sun’s warmth
I close my eyes and run into a dream

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Edgar Allan Poe

Annabel Lee

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