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



they hurry home 


Wheels buzz 

like bee's wings 

but the bees are all dead 


Or so I read



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 



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: 
My community


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