RUNNING BACK HOME - bl pawelek

The run to the west, down a military ridge trail, frozen in winter, slippery and dangerous. Even the sun is cold.

But the body is reacting well to running again. The times are down, the body not soar. Except for the bleeding and the cuts and scars.

Ben Tanzer and 99 Problems was the first step back. The second a continual worry about a sickening heart. A guilt of possibly leaving the loved ones too soon. So, I started again.

I only begin sweating after the first mile, strangely like clockwork. The breathing easier, a cadence. A pattern of lungs and stretching legs.

After five miles, I circle to start running back home, and the bleeding starts again. At first easy to control on gloves and wool hat. I choose to run harder, faster – teach and mold the body to overcome such things.

The blood runs harder too, from drops on white snow to clots and blood not containable. I run harder yet to get home, the sixth mile, the seventh. The blood-sweat mix running freely from face.

Faster for fear and embarrassment. Another mile with unsteadying legs, the path growing darker, home just so far away.