Bottom of the Hill

I’m standing at the bottom of the hill.
I tell myself the obvious: this is about to hurt.
I stretch; play Olympic Girl.
But I’m a terrible actress.
So my stretch
looks more like stalling.
Which is exactly what I’m doing.
I launch and play my usual soundtrack
in my head–“Lose Yourself” by Eminem.

Soon–not soon enough
in what I pass off as constructive criticism–I’ve crested
chest heaving; glutes on fire.  I put my hands on my hips
and start back down for number 5.

***

My writing instructor tells us to stand in our discomfort.
I tell her how I tried that shit and what an epic failure it was.
If I was good at tears, I would’ve added some
to get out of the exercise I knew was coming
from her speech.  Look lady, I’m lucky to be living
to tell the story; by the time I gave up on what you’re suggesting,
I was limping home.   I wanna be known as darlene not A Shame.
Naw, lady, naw.

She promises that what comes next
will be epic.  I don’t believe her.  But what else
is there to do?  Nobody’s watching.  There’s still dust gathering
on the other side of my life.  I’m at the bottom of the hill
telling myself the obvious: this is about to hurt.

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