17/30: BREATHLESS, I READ A POEM UNDERNEATH THE POET TREE
by Zachary Caballero
I ask my body to move, and it moves.
I tell my legs to open their stride, and I glide in the wind.
I beg my breath to stay in control, and my life doesn’t end.
Do I need anymore evidence that I am alive?
Oh, sun. I give all my gratitude to your Tuesday evening gradient.
I repent for all the times I second-guessed your radiance.
Oh, sun. I bet all you ever wanted was a captive audience.
Sweating at sunset, I run with my head held to the sky.
The way my heart knocks against my chest, you’d think
my bones were a microphone.
The faster I move, the more pain I see in my rearview.
I’m not running out of time, I’m running through it.
With miles to go, I surrender to the sky’s invitation.
A voice whispers in the distance and it sounds like
my voice, but six seconds in the future. I’m chasing
the part of the story that has been untold for centuries.
Breathless, I become a disciple of stillness. Still,
I miss what it means to call the chaos home.
Along Buffalo Bayou trail, I catch my breath and lean against
a tree where all the leaves are poems, and
the way my heart knocked against my chest, you’d think
my bones were a microphone. I stand beneath the Poet Tree,
and read the tiny poems that hold so many voices inside.
Reading each poem to myself, I ask the words to hold me,
and they do.