Bio Note: I live with my husband Ron on a five acre parcel of land where we raised five children. I worked for years as a pediatric intensive care nurse and love to write about the physiology of health and illness. I train for long distance races and duathlons year round and work through writing challenges in my head as I run. I also teach English to elementary students who speak Hmong, Korean, Chinese, Spanish, Arabic Vietnamese and Kurdish. Recent poems and essays have been published in Natural Bridge, Prism Review, and Comstock Review.
You Can't Have the Cake
But you can lace the batter with cardamom pod, crystals of raw sugar, a drizzle of dark molasses. You can track miles and months on each engineered footbed, transfer the strings from old shoes to new, threading the past into the future. You can stockpile spirit before each race. Promise to calm your gun-start adrenalin, discipline your pace. You can refuse the chemical goo, gels, and wafers against bonking-- instead eat another slice of cake, this one from almond flour, peanut butter, your own flock’s free-range eggs. You can want world peace more than an age group win. Your heart can beat in waves and fits pushing some serum of iron-rich sumac into your chaotic nearly anoxic cells. You can recruit new muscles, beg them to twitch fast or slow, as you memorize mistakes. And though you can’t have a clean heart or be free from ego, with each mile you can find a holiness in exhaustion. You can see something shiny and pure in the fiber of possum hair, the greasy stain left on the edge from a car- kill. You can read a secret code in the back-bones and teeth scattered over the road, charms from your mom’s broken bracelet. You can send and you can take.
Seven Mile Loop Past the Cemetery
You run in pre-dawn dark, vague moon overhead, cratered ovaries spit race enzymes. Fifty-mile-weeks- on spongy footbeds pound porous your bones. You repeat hill climbs. A charm of finches gorging thistle serenades each crescent regret you cycle within. The raw stench of cow manure and piss sprayed, then held in factory lagoons unpins family farms, rural charm, once unparalleled. Your feet go on moving, sweat gritty with mistakes. You arrange words, fracture stanzas, compelled to interpret the roadkill, its rib cage bleached opaque. Acid rain etches each infant tombstone. Day breaks, lines fade into our pocked ozone. Published in Wisconsin People and Ideas Magazine 2018
©2020 Jenna Rindo
Editor's Note: If this poem(s) moves you please consider writing to the author (email address above) to tell him or her. You might say what it is about the poem that moves you. Writing to the author is the beginning of community at Verse Virtual. It is very important. -JL