April Run

Three Shoes
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
	in unison.
		Both my companions

have qualified 
	for Boston. One
		seldom mentions it.

The other
	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


The Run to Picnic Point

Point Postcard
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.

Short Run after a Long Rain

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

A Core Course for Runners

Spring Lake
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

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

Running at 55

Running Clothes
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
	as marble.
		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