Milking the Muscle

The River

Photo via Pinterest

I loved them for not knowing,

what time it was. For magenta sports bras paired with turquoise printed capri pants

that weren’t worn looking for attention. For their foreign accents,

and unapologetic pink faces in 80 degree May heat. For being unconcerned

with what their hair looked like, shoulder length blonde and loose, for leisurely sit ups at noon because they wanted to,

the kind that allow oneself to bow to the body rather than deem itself worthy by way of overexertion.

For calling me “this lady”- the right candidate to ask what time it was.

Even with the windedness in my chest. After a morning of stomach upset, the accumulation of too much vinegar, the ritual of spring cleanse. Credit card expired to pay for an online renewal, and then, the ink in the printer too faint to read the printout copy to accompany a paper check.

Bare feet grounding down into brown wooden floorboards only when I acknowledged the attempt: that I was doing the best I could in the middle of a Monday morning city.

The pack of dogs held by a dogwalker’s leash, showing me affection just for being there. Lily, the stoic white boxer, sidling up close.

Closer than she ever has and closer than she does with most. The scar on her nose that makes her credible “…the sun being at the angle that makes what ordinarily gets taken for flaw very briefly what it also is: loveliness, and something/ strange, original…” {Carl Phillips, “The River in Motion and Stillness” in Speak Low}

Her strong body a sea of calm in the swells of a jumping puppy spilling over my arms, learning his own limbs.

And then, my calves in dorsiflexion –gastrocnemius lengthening while still giving rise to the bifurcation of the calf muscle-heels lifted but reaching down, making possible the movement of air between earth and feet. Milking the muscle-the way it has of releasing the thaw. Stretching back down into the unanswered questions.


Palms spreading wide over grass and dirt. That way running along the river and under tall trees has of making you feel small, and good.

The way awkward things can grow into beautiful things.

Like unbridled Daffodils in May.

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