HOMELESS THE BRAVE
A stone-faced woman
pushes a wonky shopping cartful of treasures,
across the intersection of vacant field
and Big Box parking lot.
Oh, say, can you see her 3X stars ’n’ stripes
skirt waving in the wind.
Suddenly she cuts
away from honking cars,
each wheel on the rain-rusty metal basket
going its separate way. The front left spins
a shrill objection. Fellow dumpster divers envy her
wobbly transport housing half-full liquid
detergent, cheerios spilling
a thin trail, dented cans, whatever won’t move
After dinner settled, we would
squeeze through the local high school’s locked gate
too loosely chained. On moonless nights
we relied on muscle memory
to guide our strides along the quarter-mile track.
My finish time varied little,
according to his stopwatch. I could
gauge how far ahead he ran
when his right foot sometimes scuffled pebbles.
By lap six, he would be two-hundred yards ahead.
That last spring I would slow
on the eighth curve to track warblers
in a cluster of live oaks, then make up for lost time
on the ruler-keen straightaway.
Rough breathing, wild pulse, all I could hear,
what and how I felt.
At the finish line he always waited,
pacing. I could shave off six or eight seconds,
he would start in, if only I would trim that
wide-angle turn on the last curve.
If only I would stay in lane one,
he would continue, slinging sweat from his forehead
with a free hand. Did I want to run
among the trees? I kept my head cocked
for one bird of encouragement.
Houston retiree Margo Davis is grateful that art and literature are readily available online during this pandemic. Twice nominated for a Pushcart, Margo’s poems have recently appeared in The Ekphrastic Review, Cordella, Snapdragon, Odes and Elegies: Eco-Poetry from the Texas Gulf Coast; the International Contemporary Art Exhibition 2020 in Art Gallery Le Logge, Assisi; and TransCultural Exchange’s Hello World Project.