November, 1984 Archive

The Runner and the Trees

Wednesday, November 14th, 1984

*

The trees are there
when talking stops.
They wait
for the runner.

*

At the track
before dawn
no sound
beyond breathing
but the freeway.
Exhaust
tires
and scares the runner; he stops
and notices the green-wattle tree
survives.
It softens the noise,
it freshens his blood.

*

Pursuing a youth
made lovelier yet by flight
through woods he runs
unloved,
imploring recognition.
Outdistanced and breathless
she prays for escape
then stands.
Her heart still beats against his touch
as bark encloses the soft breast,
arms twist into branches
hair flattens to leaves,
and swift feet root underground.
They are crowned
with laurel.

*

Last night’s storm
cleaned the branches
but left a mess
of yellow liquidambar leaves
on the wet, black pavement.
The runner’s eye arranges them
in passing.

*

The trees help the runner
reach his goal.
For his motion
they exchange stillness.

*