Seawall Women

by Kirsten Pendreigh

The last of the crickets chirp
as I run beside the sea. A poem in my head,
something about grace.

Other women run past,
each has her own gait,
each, her own cadence.

Like me, their panty lines are showing,
their sports bras are sagging and
their knees probably ache.

But we smile in salute—
the shared strength to lace up
and head out on the creaky limbs of morning.

We know what we know:
If you don’t look after your body
where else are you going to live?

I think we each carry a story that could break
your heart. None of us are stronger for it.
What doesn’t kill you…another empty aphorism.

Look how the cold, clear water
reveals rich life below:
ribbon algae, tiny sculpins, a first sea star.

— from Juniper Volume 1, Issue 3