place a rock

after waving a good morning
to someone raking leaves in a yard on vigil road
i realize while keeping pace
that besides the cool blast of morning air
countered by the first heat of the early sun
one of my favorite things about running in taos
is the exchange of good morning tidings
closest thing to a heating pad:
water almost to boiling on stove
rag dipped in and squeezed out
and draped along my neck
the story on the radio
from the military edition of storycorps
told by a u.s. soldier
about his time in iraq
where he eventually befriended two young friends
(always together) who would wander the compound
and how he came to love them like family
and he’d never really been a kid person
how it gave him something to look forward to
and how one day
the quiet one showed up alone
seeming not quite right
(turns out his friend was injured
in a suicide bombing at a gas station
where he was with his mom
who died in the bombing)
the next day
the quiet one (ali) and the soldier
sat on a stoop together
where ali dug a small hole in the ground
placed a rock in
and covered the hole back up
and pointed to it and said
his friend’s name
how ali and the soldier
lean into each other
and cry
and cry