She never learned the difference between fight and flight,
so she runs and she cries.
She tunes the music to match her step, blasts it
in her ears to drown out the sound of her small, grim heart
as it hammers wildly, and runs
until her legs burn,
until the muscles bunch and strain,
until her arms tremble and grow numb,
until her body flushes with white electric heat
ripped from the seat of the towering sky.
The grinding beat, the bouncing shadows,
the unforgiving granite of the road as it speeds beneath her
compress and expand like the stinging breath heaved
from smoke stained lungs.
Tears or sweat, no one will know.
At the top of the hill, she tears off her sweater,
throws it to the ground, opens her mouth to scream.
She screams until the sound becomes a gaping maw that swallows hell, until time folds back on itself,
until sound and silence mean nothing
apart from nothing
The nurses rush the room, all alarm bells and soft soled shoes.
The weak, pale woman stands beside her bed, blood splattering the white tiles.
"She's pulled the wires out," they say, as she slumps to the floor.
The light is calling. Her breaths are slow and steady now, her eyes aglow. The birds dip and dive between the wavering shadows, the road whispers, waiting