early in the year
I start jogging again
cleaning the caked mud
out of the soles of my shoes
breaking off the old earth in continental-shaped clumps.
the route I like to take
dips downhill very suddenly
and then gradually climbs back up
winding through blocks of cape cod houses
and past front windows with sleepy dogs resting their chins
on the backs of couches –
one, as big as a bear and white as milk,
opens an eye to observe me huff and puff past.
at the end of the third mile
my heart may just
punch out of my chest
but I can see the street sign at the top of the hill,
Bloomer, it says, and if I can just
make it to that sign,
touch its perforated metal post,
I can make it the rest of the way home.