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A Quarterly Journal
Jeffrey Woodward, Founder & General Editor
Volume 8, Number 4, December 2014

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Tish Davis
Concord Township, Ohio, USA


Running

a chip
embedded somewhere
in my numbered bib;
well-wishers cheering loudly
from the gravel shoulder

the morning
after your birthday
the first maples
softly swaying
as racing runners pass

Morning and the maples, the maples—the first hardwoods to slip on the long sleeves of autumn's red—are gently waving all along the race route, are gently bending their branches from the sculpted pedestals in the distant rolling landscape of my hometown.

At the half mile mark, I'm overtaken by a runner who resembles one of my grandmothers who died long ago. She's starting out too fast, I say to myself. She's overdressed. But as she passes, I notice the wide orange stripe on the back of her vest, how elegantly it rides on her small frame and how gazelle-like her tennis shoes tap the pavement.

bright orange cones
in the middle of the road
a policeman
blows his whistle
a few leaves falling

someone's yellow dog
on a long chain
again
and again
testing the metal

The course loops through the old neighborhood and continues up a slight incline. Younger runners are passing both of us now but this senior is undeterred. She swings her arms, holds her shoulders straight. Not yet ready to retire, I focus on that stripe on the back of her vest. It thins, thins and almost disappears. Suddenly it flares. I am young again. It's your birthday; we are dancing.

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