A poem by Julia R. DeStefano
The weird chill is upon me,
and I see you’re lacing up your running shoes -
not minding the snow blanketing our small earth
or the probability of slip and fall.
But there are whiteout conditions out there!
Surely, you’ll freeze to death.
Shivering outside love’s shelter.
And why the straitjacket?
We both know it can’t keep you warm -
no matter how tight you pull.
With no finish line in sight,
how will you ever know when it’s time
to turn back towards this woman who’s missing you?
Or will the bell-like peal of her laugh
fade into distant memory like the sound of the starting gun?
But you’re already off.
The cold penetrates me -
icy wind blowing in from the screen door
that I can’t get to shut
as I realize it’s me you’re running from.
I knew when the icicles resurfaced on my bones
that you were pulling at the laces.
Making them taut.
Readying for another journey where I am not welcome.
This chapter I tear from the book
that always reappears
just when I think it’s safe to say running season has ended.
Are those shoes new?
You’re faster than I’m used to,
or is it my exhaustion holding me in place?
Oh, barefooted, naked me -
it’s not my job to chase you
in this sprint faster than Cupid’s arrow
that dares an avalanche.
How it rocks the boat of our bond,
almost willing it to tip over
as the lines in my face deepen.
Watching you take off with my golden heart in-hand.
Held high like the Olympic torch.
And the imprint of yesterday’s kiss upon your frostbitten lips.
Estimated time of return — unknown.
© Julia R. DeStefano