Running, Downtown, Before the Typhoon

A storm is coming 

The school is quite 

kids slam car doors

and ride off on bikes 

with unbuckled helmets

 

fast 

they hurry home 

 

Wheels buzz 

like bee's wings 

but the bees are all dead 

 

Or so I read

online

 

We tie our shoes 

in the medow 

behind the school

beside the bike racks

But the bikes are gone 

 

The air is still

 

We talk about math class

and Spainish tests 

and tight hamstrings 

 

The clouds move quick 

but it's warm outside 

so we take off our jackets

 

And we run 

skin slides over muscle

over bone

 

The streets are quiet

the basketball court is empty 

a women sleeps on the sidewalk 

curled up under an unzipped sleeping bag 

 

We are loud

We chatter about something

That I can't quite make out 

Over the sound of feet on pavement

 

Verb tenses

or tense shoulders 

one can't be sure

 

The girl ahead of me slams to a hault

"Watch it!" 

She kicks the stop sign

as a car zooms by

 

But the driver knows

there is no stopping 

the coming storm 

 

The cars keep coming 

they swoosh 

like curtains closing 

and opening 

and closing 

again 

 

the sound distracts me 

I think of old stories

that I might tell

if the chance arises 

 

We run 

It's chaos,

 

but then again 

it always is 

 

The sidewalks are empty

we fill the gaps

 

An old drifter huddles in a storefront 

and pulls his collar up above his nose

we talk about beaches

and parties 

and the coming storm 

 

A young man sleeps

slumped over a coffee shop table

the Batista doesn't have the heart 

to kick him out 

 

We run down to the waterfront 

 

The water is still 

too still 

it keeps secrets 

and avoids eye contact 

 

The boardwalk is abandoned

Even the birds are deserters 

But we aren't all that threatened 

by storms or birds

Or untrustworthy water

 

Typhoons arn't supposed to touch Bellingham 

they haven't before

but I guess if things are going to change 

than the weather'd be par for the core 

 

We're on inlet 

not ocean

we're meant to be safe 

 

Nobody is safe 

so why worry? 

 

We just run

 

We're talking about shoes 

when the rain starts to fall

"did you feel that" 

someone asks 

holding out an open hand 

 

We copy the motion

Sure enough, 

rain drops fall in 

 

We run faster

 

A senior leads us down a shortcut 

that's not really a shortcut 

 

Someone complains

"My hair is wet"

but the pavement smells wonderful 

you know, the way it does 

 

We cross through a park 

Branches come crashing

down from the trees 

like banners

pasted with flame colored, party packs

of bright confetti 

 

A homeless man sleeps 

under a tree

and I wonder if he'll die 

or we'll die

in this orange confetti 

 

There are worse ways to go 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This poem is about: 
Me
My community

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