we, two strawberry-tie-dyed fish-out-of water beings ran our
sixth-grade soles through pistachio grass and let the wind
dance past our ponytails. we, two sneaker-peeling,
dry-heaving entities skipped past the dusty infield and
chalky dirt, waved at one another and spewed words
like sputtering tendrils of gas from our mouths.
we, two teetering neophytes, timid newcomers,
met between pounding shoes and gasping breaths,
sticky coils of September air.
our tounges bled navy in June. they stained below
the incense of burning marshmallows and drizzly
zephyrs, leaching sweet cerulean frosting and treacles
of honey -- a flood of faux sky. perhaps if our palms
melt into sapphire sugar-crystals we'll be able to reach
up up up and squish stars between our fingertips, June smiling
down at our finally-summer faces. for here, we run through the
dandelion grass and forget the too-long school-year. here, we hide
beneath the obsidian night and prickly brambles, chase each
other through the yard and clutch our sides as laughter tumbles
from our lips.
July lodges silicone mats and raspberry bushels through
our hands. it's a race to the finish, noses pressed to the
oven-door, fuschia mits swerving trays of hot metal and macaron shells
as we peer at the vanilla fluff and shake our heads,
billowing dark chocolate ringlets through the hollow tops
and squirming as they crumble in our hands.
maybe the world is just one big meringue, teetering on the
brink of good and bad and sitting criss-cross in the steady
mid-summer heat that sluices 'round it. perhaps it's just
waiting for its cracked self to be glued back together
by shards of too-runny glaze.
in August we bolt again. we sprint cross the chipped pavement
and firefly evenings, preparing for the new year beneath sunsets
that fuse gold into our aching tendons and dancing hair, the searing
in our legs pressing on as we march into September and imagine our
limbs snapping like rubber bands. but this is what we do: we run. we
sprint till the ground is a fizz of green green green, bubbling
up into our faces, sprinkled in halos 'round our heads.
perhaps if we run fast enough, the world will fade away and
the clouds will ruffle in streaks of porcelain, delicate
wisps of china washing the sky with white.
but when fall emerges again and our sprints waver in divergent lines,
opposite routes: a duo of chapped hands cradling opportunities
like a mother holds her child -- when fall flutters forward in
burnt leaves and crimson waves,
remember that we'll still have always met on that
still-summer September day: strawberry tie-dye and peeling sneakers.
for we'll always be runners no matter where we end up,
no matter the thorns that lacerate
and despite our pace, we'll always sprint in
the same direction:
f o r w a r d .
--This poem is mostly about me and my friend's experience in cross country over the years, and how sometimes a sense of competitiveness drove out the fun in running. I've decided not to do cross country running next year because overall, I wasn't actually enjoying it and it really just added more anxiety and stress due to all of the pressure I was putting on myself. However, I'll always be a runner at heart and will continue to run by myself, as through this, I was able to meet one of my friends.