The day after Christmas, I run
sweating in the early seventy-
degree morning, cling tight to
the cinder block walls for the
shade, and hug a straight line
down Slater, choose to breathe

car fumes over exposure to
the sun and bursting into flames.
I am the only runner. I am the
only pedestrian who waves to
drivers who choose to stop. I’m
running to the park because I

hope it will have a drinking
fountain, and it does, and I
stop and spill the water down
my arms, my neck, my face.
Women walking little dogs look
at me like I’m crazy. I could say

something about the uselessness
of such a small pet, but I don’t.
I could say something about the
garbage cans I passed, spilling
with wrapping paper, cardboard,
and ribbon, the still-green trees

hauled belly-up to the curb. I
could say something about the
way I feel safer running in a
busy street’s bike lane than I do
in a suburban park. Instead, I’ll
say that, when I finished at the

fountain, turned, and ran right up
the hill, I passed a dead raccoon
I thought was a coyote (both out
of place), belly-up, its paws stiff
and intestines spilling over, lips
curled into a grimace at the sun.