Running The Trails At Eagle Creek

Running The Trails At Eagle Creek
(Eagle Creek in Indianapolis is one of the largest municipal parks in the U.S.)

After the snow has melted
and the mud dried
the trails are passable again
and I can still see the blue sky
bright through bare branches as I run,
escaping a city that wants me gone.

I am a hunter’s son
who still needs to know
the name of every plant and animal,
the meaning of each sight, sound and scent
spelled out in code
by Nature’s wild encyclopedia.

This kind of winter morning
is made for birds,
loud and busy, thriving in cold
with their naked feet and legs,
the little ones scolding me
as they strip away bark and scatter leaves.

A pileated woodpecker
lands on a sycamore trunk,
his crazy eye in its stripe
underneath a clown’s red thatch
looking down to inspect me
before he begins to hammer,
the forest echoing with his drum.

Ahead of me crows gather
around an owl asleep in a pine,
their normal circumspection
lost to sudden rage,
revenge a black storm
through the trees where predator and prey
have traded places in their acrobatic weave.

As I near the lake I can hear
the calls of sand hill cranes,
and when I come out on the shore
the sky is filled with their rippling waves,
geese and gulls gathered to witness
on patches of ice, a foretelling,
a promise, perhaps, the center will always hold.

My watch tells me I must head back,
the jagged shards of urban life
smoothed a little half way out,
and in the lot as I unlock my car
an eagle banks across the sun,
returned from limbo to soar again
over subdivisions and interstates.

I watch it circle, then come down low
to bless me.

By Steve Brammell

Steve Brammell runs trails whenever he can for inspiration and to restore his soul. He’s recently had poems and flash fiction published in RavensPerch, Northwest Indiana Literary Journal, White Wall Review, The Tiny Seed Literary Journal, The Write Launch, Flying Island Journal, and Cathexis Northwest Press. An upcoming flash fiction piece will appear in The Dead Mule School of Southern Literature. He is a member of the Indiana Writers Center and a graduate of Wabash College.