Running on a Bright Cold Morning

The air is cold on skin just out of bed.

The flesh shrinks and puckers under its fabric armor, insufficient,

Recoiling from the Other.

The sunlight gleams so fiercely it could be sparks,

Ricocheting off leaves and windows too sharply to be blunted by tinted lenses,

Giving edges and shadows to the colors and shapes of things.

The cold, invisible wind of it, all that’s left of that distant exploding furnace in the void.

Old legs move less easily than when they were new.

Familiar aches speak of untended injuries, healed strong but off-kilter.

Adjust to ease them, and new aches appear, blossoms of imbalance.

The deep-rooted habits of motion accommodate grudgingly, if at all.

Crystalline air pours into the dark, warm places that feed the heart.

Great gulps of world surging into the soft, closed places that hang and pull on these bobbing rocks of bone,

The soft, closed places where pain is born, flares, and dies

Are fed with the breath of trees, of children, of tiny things whose running is too small to see

The trees don’t lie.

Tall, grey and clear they rise from their scattering mantle of deceitful gold

Forgetting summer in their naked sleep.

They were never fooled by the promises that clothed them and concealed their fruit.

Under their now-punctuated shade the light looks warm but isn’t, the bones of the earth are easy to see.

Breath, unthinking, flows.

Over and over the dark gathers up and spills out its uselessness

To refill itself with not-itself.

Footbeats, heartbeats pull it in and pour it out,

Is it deepening my darkness,

Or am I turning into light?

©Mary Braden 2016

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