Academic journal article Women's Studies Quarterly

On a Blue Track

Academic journal article Women's Studies Quarterly

On a Blue Track

Article excerpt

The day would begin anyway, you know

as you turn in towards the dim-lit gym.

The padded blue track loops like a dusty

ribbon between bleachers and slab walls,

the deserted university gloom broken only

by the red eyes of a dozen exit signs,

the drooping arms of fire extinguishers.

Dark scoreboards dangle from a web

of girders and catwalks in the aerie above.

Wall signs you never remember: Seven laps

to a mile, M/W/F start left, T/T/S/S start

right, slow joggers hug the wall.

You must begin. Each day, just begin.

First the head, sweeping out worries,

chatter. Slowing the mind, reaching

down towards the breath, breaking open

the chest, digging through layers of

laziness and complacency. Plunging

the breath towards white tongues,

the soles of shoes slapping the blue

track, rotating ankles, arches, toes,

begging the breath up through calves

to the good knee, the bad, catching

the click, its throb, saying no.

Thighs, cellulite chafing, stomach

tightening, girding for the spine's

low ache, breathing, straightening,

pounding, saying no. Arms high, up,

out, fingers fanning, breasts rising.

Shoulders back, arms tingling, checking,

breathing, saying no. A neck bending,

bowing, crackling. …

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