Keli Stafford The 2River View, 9.2 (Winter 2005)

Guided only by cracks in the pavement
she runs,
her body ice-pale, ribs poking

through her skin like wings.
Every step burns her breathless.
The wind rides

her heels and whispers
words to the back of her neck.
She gives up a sigh to the air

and it hisses like raindrops falling
on fire.
She knows now what it is to breathe.

It is all uphill
in the cold, her hair a liquid darkness
like a halo of icicles

as she runs
from a wind that strips skin down
to bone.

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