We’re running unrushed
on twigs and green
seeds from the hail
storm last night.
Three pair of shoes
crunch and crackle
on the pavement, almost
Both my companions
for Boston. One
seldom mentions it.
finds an eyelet
in every conversation
in which to lace it.
But for now we’re
here in Madison
—three pair of shoes
a patch of gravel,
the first dandelions.
To the planet
in an anthill, it’s
sad how much damage
one shoe can do.
Copyright 2010 by Brian Dean Powers
August ends, humid and hot
but that's not stopping you from hauling
yourself up hill after hill. Off-road,
across the grassy flat of a football field,
you stride with light, silent steps —
though your pace in this heat
is more jog than dash.
The run grows in its slow
and winding way, flourishing at last
on the path to Picnic Point. The trodden
ground is dappled, sunlight blazing radiant trails
through the leaves overhead. The breeze
sprays you with the fragrance of apples,
strokes your sweat-slicked skin.
You dodge and dart over tree roots
and rocks, breathing easy, immersed
in the spread of an incandescent day.
Sunlight runs among the treetops on photon feet.
Copyright 2004 by Brian Dean Powers
Published in Echolocations: Poets Map Madison by Cowfeather Press,
and in the 2006 Wisconsin Poets’ Calendar. During 2014, the poem was
displayed in the Reflections: Madison photography and poetry exhibit
at the Monona Terrace Convention Center.
I remember leaping over fallen branches
broken in the morning's storm. I remember
dodging dirt and gravel that had washed
down driveways onto the walk. I can
still see the archipelago of puddles that turned
an everyday run into urban steeplechase.
Along the way, my aging engine managed
to chug me past slow traffic and muscular
construction trucks, and I remember
plodding over pavement stained
with trampled blackberries, and I remember
when running was easy.
The rain moved on, but not the humid heat.
I remember the salty stubble on my lip.
Copyright 2008 by Brian Dean Powers
Published in the 2012 Wisconsin Poets’ Calendar
I’m running the lakeside path again,
past the last shards of March
melting along the shore. This body
built on bone strides silently,
as light as the breath on my lips.
An hour in, quads and calves propel
themselves, knees keep leading me forward
and time becomes a seamless stream.
Doesn’t matter that I will never be
much of an athlete, that I will
never run fast or win a race.
This body is a quiet current
of muscle and pulsing blood.
I am altogether alive in glistening skin.
Copyright 2003 by Brian Dean Powers
Published in the 2005 Wisconsin Poets' Calendar
The trail begins at the bay bridge —
a shoestring path worn into lakeshore grass.
It's a good place to run: the ground
is knee-easy, stumble-soft. Your companions
are the oval-leafed locust tree, the hop-
happy rabbit, the glistening wink
on the crests of waves. It's the kind
of tee-shirt-and-shorts afternoon
you dreamed of all winter, where
a good run makes the day blaze.
The kind of run where you relish
the gentle sway of your shoulder blades,
the sweat dripping off your arms,
the quadriceps' flex just before footfall.
Copyright 2014 by Brian Dean Powers
Published in the 2018 Wisconsin Poets’ Calendar
I start today's seven-miler
watching my energetic neighbor pile
bountiful brown leaves
along both sides of the walk.
A sky of gray fleece
opens one brief
buttonhole of light.
When I reach the Starkweather bridge
the olive-green, weedy-green
creek seems solid and still
Year by year I watch
my pace and resilience
like foliage from the trees, so
I'm glad for this easy hour
out and back
on strong and sturdy legs.
My ambitious neighbor's relentlessly
raking when I return. He points
to three large, leafy nests
clotting the bare branches above us.
The wind naps.
The leaf mounds
I run Fall's gauntlet
of beauty and decay.
Copyright 2007 by Brian Dean Powers