published in Broad River Review
of other bridge runners,
our bodies block the clear Charleston
sky and sea, as the eroding marshland
curls green beneath.
This pylon of silver,
its rivets like buttons on an old man’s plaid shirt.
Billed birds cry to their companions,
scraping the brown muck of pluff mud
from their wings. That musty smell’s
all in my drinking water,
algae compounds leaving spots on my wine glass.
They say refrigerate your tap water—
for a nice, clean taste.
Where would the Holy City
be without its liquid economic engine,
but also its brakes—high tides flood
downtown streets anytime it rains more than an inch.
“Rain bombs” overload the drainage systems.
And it’s only going to get hotter.
I wipe sweat, adjust my hair clip.
A fellow runner in jean shorts and a dirty tank top praises,
Thank you, Jesus! as we lean our feet
into that first grueling hill,
built to accommodate container ships,
their minds hold nothing
but air and steel, port and prayer.