She’s walked for weeks under a formless sky
Devoid of shelter as the ragged earth.
Something inchoate, wild finds its breath
in all the miles, her solitary
push past food, time, her inner voice’s pleas.
Sweet water, snake’s blood dripping from her knife,
hard-edged sleep – her savage self wakes to life,
her senses sharpened to intensity.
Windbent, twisted, spare, a lone tree beckons.
She approaches it in wonder; her touch
hungry, almost carnal, is as urgent
as a newborn’s gasping, the brutal punch
of air against closed lungs. Its bark is rough.
Her cheek is scratched. She melds to root, trunk, branch.
Copyright 2016, Carrie Myers. Originally published in Feminist Spaces. Volume 2, Issue 2, Spring / Summer 2016.
Based on, and with wording borrowed from, “The Woman who Walked 10,000 Miles (No Exaggeration) in Three Years,” by Elizabeth Weil, New York Times Magazine, September 25, 2014.