by Paul Ilechko

She was breathing deeply as she ran
beside the stand of trees     sheltered
from the westerly wind     her teeth 
frozen from exertion     her breath aligned
with the morning calm     later that day
the locusts would be crooning  
but for now she jogged through 
the thickness of a heavy silence     
she had come to realize that the more
time she spent outdoors    the deeper
she was able to penetrate into her
most internalized emotions     with fewer
distractions     her awareness increased
listening to her own breathing 
to the muttering of her own heart 
back home     nothing awaits her except
the furniture     a house filled with 
the inanimate     nothing for her to fear
there are books close to hand     
and fresh fruit laid out in bowls 
of bronze     or hand-turned cherry
wood     all of it unaware of her presence
as she tunnels into a heavy vein
of emptiness     still running even now
desperately straining for a finish line that
only exists in memory     shoes tightly 
laced     hair soaked in fresh sweat     her
hands grip the arm of her chair as tightly
as she has ever gripped anything in her life. 


Paul Ilechko is a British American poet and occasional songwriter who lives with his partner in Lambertville, NJ. His work has appeared in many journals, including The Bennington Review, The Night Heron Barks, Lily Poetry Review, Stirring, and The Inflectionist Review. He has also published several chapbooks.