Running Across Chase County, Kansas by Thomas Reynolds

Starting Line05_10_1

Stretching beneath

The sign with two bullet holes,


I gauge the gray sky,

Pulsing veins of darkness.



Wind rushes in

To fill space


Where sea water once

Raced for shore.



All afternoon, incredulous

Farmers in trucks


Slow to ask if I

Need a ride, son.


Flint Hills

At the ridge top

Semis swoop past


Honking great blasts

Of pterodactyl breath.


Race Official

Wind whistles

A break through


Windows of

An abandoned house.


Diner Lunch

When I tell the waitress

I’m running across the county,


She says she’s running too,

Out the door at five o’clock.


Rain Shower

I’m now walking

With my head down



Pacing like blood.



The old bull escaped

From the broken pen


Jogs a bit as I pass,

Vanishing into the ravine.


Gas Station Window

Plastic bottle under

The outdoor tap,


I watch a waterbug dash

Across the mirrored plains.



My breath becomes

Some panting beast


Running beside me

Barking into the wind.



Suddenly land falls away

To reveal miles ahead


A sparse silent line of homes

With a sun shaft sprinting past.


County Line

I lean against the sign

For fifteen minutes while


Storm clouds inside me

Veer away into the hills.

~ Thomas Reynolds

Thomas Reynolds is an associate English professor at Johnson County Community College in Overland Park, Kansas, and has published poems in various print and online journals, including New Delta Review, Alabama Literary Review, Aethlon-The Journal of Sport Literature, The MacGuffin, Flint Hills Review, and Prairie Poetry. Woodley Press of Washburn University published his poetry collection Ghost Town Almanac in 2008. His chapbook The Kansas Hermit Poems will be published by Finishing Line Press in 2013.


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