I was hoping to run four miles
with even breathing and strong legs,
to have my body carry my mind
to the expected peace that always
comes from moving myself from a
starting point and back again.
Along the road in the heat of the day,
a hat shielding my eyes from the sun,
running shorts that expose the full
length of my long legs, brown from the sun
and with a glance at them, I feel strong.
And thankful. Thankful for capable legs
that aren’t so young any longer, but still
behave like they are.
I see tiny clusters of sour green grapes
yielding to all that will bring them to
sweetness, and to harvest, and at
their moment of perfect sugar
they will bring the smell of juice
and big barreling trucks to dodge, on
this now quiet road.
I’m tiring sooner than expected,
short patches of shade
long stretches of sun.
Almost halfway and there is the plum tree,
the one whose fruit was sour last week.
The familiar driveway on this familiar run
the most welcome part of an
out and back, turning around.
I approach the plum tree again and reach to
pluck the fruit no bigger than a cherry.
The taste on my tongue causes
me to stop and turn around
where I pluck another, then another.
Biting into sour skin, releasing the
sweet juice and spitting out the pit.
The athlete becomes the dreamer.
Standing in the shade of the tree,
eating, forgetting the run, feeling
like the carefree child I once was
who wandered alone on hot summer days,
Shaken by a passing car, and with a belly
full of too much fruit, I walk.
Only to discover wild blackberries
impossible to ignore and so they
too become victim and then I give in.
This is no longer a run.
This is an outdoor adventure of
wild fruit that ended with a perfect peach, and
a stomach ache.