The Marathoner

Her lungs must leap to chase and grasp
at fleeing breaths.

By mile three gravity torques pain
up each ankle into muscles fueled
by the twitch and flex and thud of
arteries transporting sharp resolve
in swift spasms down
to feet that strain to shove
away the clinging ground.

Another step, another
kick and the jackhammer
of her legs finally breaks
the concrete crust that separates
earth from heel from bone from lung.

Artemis inhales each fresh mile
until the last hill levels,
pounded flat by feet
that feel now only joy.

[Eric Pinder is the author of a book of nature writing and several books for children, including Counting DinosIf All the Animals Came Inside, and How to Share with a Bear. He lives in the woods of New Hampshire. Find him online at]