The Runner

She was a runner
Trains and planes were a high she
couldn’t escape.
The ground moving beneath her feet
Away, or to

Her lungs were always too small,
Or maybe there was never enough air
when his lips touched her
like her skin was laced with gold

A hole twisted in her gut and her pulse
raced before her feet hit the ground
And one morning she ended up in London
after running all night

The clank of money in her pocket was too faint
And the glare of the sun reflecting off the Thames
was a certain kind of sickly filler
for that trench in her chest when she worked jobs she didn’t like

There were bugs in her bathtub and she dreamt of that morning
Of water dripping from his hair and trickling down his cheeks, dimpled imperfections
in the pale sunrise that filtered through steamed windows
before he left for class

When she was small her brother left
before her mother left
and she was left
with a belief only in big, dark spaces

The ditch in her stomach was never so deep
as when she arrived in Paris and her best days
were when her flatmate
who bit her skin raw and ugly
went away on rare weekends with the guise of visiting family

She found an old photograph of golden eyes and sunshine smiles
and she remembered why she loved to run

She arrived in Berlin and her heart was no more than a black hole
Salty tears colored the rusty kitchen sink
when he called one day and she let it ring,
And it reminded her of how small her lungs were

Aching, bleeding for oxygen because hills were steep,
She wanted to stop but
there were never enough miles of road
and she ran with fire in her calves that couldn’t quite melt
the ice in her veins

She arrived in Venice bones and skin and she realized,
chest heaving because the world would never have enough air
that maybe there wasn’t a finish line
Maybe she would sink with a city

She stopped to catch her breath once
and found smiling cheeks and old button up shirts
in a teashop in Edinburgh.
The smell of scones was too hard to resist.

When she found herself in Tokyo
her skin rotten and hair in strings
her body was an open wound and she found
cherry blossoms weren’t as beautiful as the color of his laughter.
She watched as they floated away in whispers
when the breeze came

Someone asked where she’d come from,
but she couldn’t speak the language

Sydney was sunny, maybe
Dark circles rimmed red with sunburn
Names growing faint in her memory
but forever burned around the edges of her heart,
and she couldn’t cry without sunglasses on

There was that one night near the end
when he slipped his socks off and crawled across the sheets
and looked into her eyes as if
they held the world

She was barely a shell, maybe
but she liked the feeling of the wind in her hair as she sailed winding trails
taking her away, or to

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