Woman Running

Plate 156 (segment), Eadweard Muybridge

This day I have thought of
these things: a woman
in black boots running through
an airport, jacket slapping

her knees, a small boy’s curls
lying on a barber shop
floor like shavings left
from a woodworker’s plane,

shadows in the halls of
empty buildings, pigeons
on rooftops, willow trees,
old words of old men.

The way words happen is
what they mean, taking their
lives from the pictures where
they are framed as we let

image build on image
until each stands unfocused,
like junk in an old yard,
overlapping and jungled.

Then choose one: of course
the woman, whose boots are
black, who is running, whose
loosened coat is streaming,

meaning what she is, even
if we cannot say whether
she races toward a child
waiting, a friend departing,

or merely toward some
forgotten her and me that
both of you discovered
and now have left behind.