I’m cheating a bit. I didn’t get any writing from the Open Roads Writing Challenge prompt #2 polished enough to post. I realize that it doesn’t have to be great, but I can’t be too embarrassed by my effort, even if it’s just an exercise to generate ideas.
The third prompt in the challenge asks the writer to put five specific words inside the piece of writing. The words were: road runner, hum, weeds, petrichor, and stocking. Am I showing my age (or just poor eyesight?) if I accidently saw “road runner” as “road” and “runner”? I didn’t even notice my mistake until I created this post. So I’ve used six words in my poem: there’s my second deception. I cheated again by changing the word “hum” to “humming.” Hopefully, you won’t hold any of this against me.
In high school, I ran on gravel roads,
a lone runner against the horizon,
with the swish, swish of silk fabric
humming over my steps and petrichor
filling the air. My breath an anchor
to the middle of nowhere, surrounded
by milkweeds, barbed-wire fences,
and sky. Years and miles away
from that girl, I wonder if I could find
her. Could it be as simple as slipping
on stockings, shoes and starting out
one sore foot in front of another? Could
my breath—hesitant and strained—
lead me back, or would it be too easy
to drift, as complacent as a deer, into
the cheat grass and yellow mustard?
* * * * *
What do you cheat on?