While Jogging The Beach

The wind whispers your body
as you veer out of the salt spray
onto the endless blond shore.

It tells you to pound your feet
into the wet sand
as if to jar the earth from the force.

You follow its orders
and your harsh body motion
upsets your aviators, tilts them askew.

Your pounding shakes loose
the deaths of a million fish washed ashore
and they take form around you,

flopping and throwing themselves.
The tide stretches a little farther inland
trying to facilitate their return.

Each tail that slaps the water
produces a lost message
once carried in a bottle.

From behind you the authors
of those messages emerge dripping
to congregate on the shore around you.

Their sheer numbers press upon you
while their empty loneliness
carries the suffocating reek of dead fish.

As your feet continue to pound the sand,
the authors pair up, collected
like unclaimed luggage.

They begin to leave, to seek seclusion.
In no time the beach is empty again, except for you,
your footprints, and the oblique curve of the shoreline.

copyright © 2020 Kenneth P. Gurney


The interior of my limb folded inward.
I wept before I hit the ground.

My ankle, bent in an unnatural direction,
created darkness.

In the darkness my body chilled.
My ghost walked around me appraising the damage.

I woke to white sparks and nausea.
Sorry. Sorry. Sorry, Ankle. Sorry.

The song of the trailhead was faint.
Ravens carried snippets to breadcrumb the way back.

My face bathed in changing shades of pain
studied and improved my one footed off-balance hop.

My teeth tightly clenched the wind between them
and tore off hunks of it to swallow whole.

I dropped pride from my bearing
to lighten the load.

copyright © 2020 Kenneth P. Gurney


During my years living in the western mountain ranges of the USA, I have helped three people off mountains and back to their cars at the trailheads. In all three cases the people were joggers or runners who wrecked their ankles on a root or uneven ground. The longest distance to the trailhead was about three miles from where I found the person sitting on a rock resting before another session of hopping.

In each case, the runner was running alone in the wilderness. Not the best idea. Sometimes things outside of your control go wrong and you need help. In one case the person had hopped & waited over two hours before I happened along. We saw no one on the way back to the trailhead.

My ankles got wrecked playing pickup basketball games when I came down with a rebound and landed wrong on someone’s foot. This happened a couple times to each ankle. I did have a fall down a steep slope when I slipped on some leaf-covered ice and tumbled about 70 feet into a tree. It was a case of paying attention to the pretty girl I was with, instead of the trail.

The only time I have suffered an injury that caused me to blackout was on a slow ground ball hit to third in a baseball game. I sprinted to first for a bang-bang call of Out by the umpire. My foot hit the base wrong and I tore my meniscus in my right knee. I do not remember hitting the ground the pain lanced through me so hard and fierce.

Take care of yourselves in sports and other activities. As I grow older, each day those injuries received when young remind me they are there in little ways. And I have physical therapy to do every day to keep everything functioning as close to properly as possible.

Love & Light.