She runs with me today, a being
whose feet rest on my sneakers,
an astral body, or a ghost. Flaming tips
of sumac lips howl at us in the damp
winter morning, and mirrored
puddles lick at our legs from gutters.
On the sidewalk the letters
J-O-Y traced in wet cement
with a finger tip – a name or a feeling?
The air thickens with moisture
as we pad up the last hill toward
home, our face beading with droplets
from misted pine, cypress needles
and sweat – we are bathed in liquid as dark
as the weedy bottom of a lake.
At this cusp, this final push, we dare
to let the water flow into our nose,
our mouth, fill up our lungs, and we
recognize that yes, we can breathe.