by Cara Lorello
IN MAY, WINDS BROKE robust with spring vigor
lifting loose hair from shoulders, set awnings
ruffling over downtown shops and baby strollers
over the din of gathering crowds blocks-wide
in the thick of the early hours, tight and bundled
just as we were, too, still in bed several floors above.
I had left the windows cracked, the fan running
all night, felt the proof of it on your bare arms
wrapped tight around me since the dawn.
Every year on this week of all weeks,
always in May, the city holds a national footrace
spanning the perimeter of the metro area.
Already underway, we could hear runners
treading the arterial below, different groups,
different ages, different start times,
all leading to the same finish line.
So much activity, yet we had barely stirred.
In all our six years together, you ran
that race only once, I recall.
I remember more clearly the morning of,
how softly you kissed me—for good luck—
fresh with aftershave, crisp black numbers
safety-pinned to your chest.
Years later, you still are in runner’s form
with the same hair cut but a different zip code.
My code changed too, back to downtown
after years renting in the country.
You like it for its close proximity to
all things worth doing if you’re just visiting,
which is what you do, now.
Awake, you inhale gently, loosen your grip
to turn my body to face yours, paralleled.
We both know what’s next.
Less than an hour from now
we’ll be seated by the gleaming windows
of the French café where I promised you
breakfast; you having the croissant,
I, the chocolate biscotti with melon,
watching runners pass in droves,
a telling afterglow about you,
a grin that won’t go away,
a slight rumple through your hair—
all three things I will have put there.
Back in the present, you ease
your weight over me, every muscle
inside you tensing, ready, familiar.
I know this is you and I as close
as we’ll ever be, getting there
to the moment afterward
where I now wait for you, already there.
CARA LORELLO is a former newspaper journalist currently residing in Spokane, Washington. Her poetry and essays have appeared in the literary journals The Sun, The Smoking Poet, Riverlit, Wulfstan's Literary Tumble, and the magazines Eve, Spokane-Coeur d'Alene Woman, and Northwest Woman.