This week in my poetry class our assignment was prose poems. I decided to write about running and walking and paying attention and my quirky vision and my favorite color: green.
The used-to-be-kelly green now briny green or olive green or sweaty green or should-be-thrown-away green twins baseball cap bought at a game years ago that, after many adjustments, fits just right—even when wind is really blowing and trying to rip it off and throw it in the river—and that I wear whenever running is fraying on top, creating a briny green bald spot and causing distress because I love it and don’t want to get rid of it and fear that there will never, ever be another cap as great or faithful in keeping out sun and capturing sweat so it doesn’t run into my eyes as this one that snugly, but not too snugly, sits on my head.
Writing down Mary Oliver’s line I don’t know exactly what a prayer is, I do know how to pay attention I think sometime soon, maybe mid-run, above the river, sweat dripping off the brim of a barely still green baseball cap, face turning bright red, unevenly flushed cheeks—not rosy but ruddy, I’ll notice wind sounding like water gently boiling or an oak leaning forward listening in as other trees talk or a canopy of different shades of green, all fruits—pears, limes, avocados—and say out loud, “Me too Mary.”
Walking with Dog. Above—oak savanna, hidden by hill. Near—tree stumps with chain link limbs. Below—steel blue river, bare brown trunks, bright, glowing green slashes of invading buckthorns refusing to accept late fall and snow coming soon. I softly call to Dog, “stop! slow down! no, this way!” Irritated. Annoyed. Trying to avoid a fall with slippery leaves, either wet or hiding holes. Dog’s sniffing and darting too much to listen. Then looking ahead suspiciously. At something. I stare too. Trying to see what Dog sees. Nothing’s there. I stare. Again and again. Just lonely Black Fence. “There’s nothing there, silly Dog!” I keep walking. Suddenly Black Fence grows a person. Not like trees growing fences further back but like a person spontaneously sprouting out of Black Fence fully formed. Leaning and looking at me, then at steel blue mississippi.