The Bad Penny


Sunday morning sunshine

Air alive with early morning briskness

My feet hit the pavement anxious with anticipation

for the quiet of a long run

My heart is bursting with excitement

as my legs move smoothly over the hills

At last at the crest of “The Killer”

I remove a layer

The heat of my arms basking in the high star

The finish is too soon, I think

Arriving home I hear the voices

of loved ones breaking the fast

We are renewing a childhood tradition

In a different incarnation

Grown-up, sharing the ritual

with the girls they love

We are filled with glee

Refreshed, we hit the road

But not before stopping for that cup of joe

And then the reverie is broken

He appears:




Our blood was once on his hands

We grapple  with this infelicitous situation

My heart races and my hands shake

I move away yet stay put

My protectors keeping him at bay

Polite, they speak in superficial tones

Pretending to be mannered

All the while  seething at the reminder

of his emotional destructions

At last they come for me

surrounding me as we depart

We breathe deeply

Freed again

Delighted that the orchard awaits our pickings

Sipping and Singing and Celebrating

Moving onward and forward

Knowing our lives are full and empty of him

8 thoughts on “The Bad Penny

  1. Oh, my. Beautiful. I was in no way prepared for that spike driven into the middle, and it was all the more powerful for it. Just perfectly done, and I really love the phrase “basking in the high star.”

    1. Thank you Jennie. That’s exactly the effect that I wanted to convey. It was an extremely emotionally charged situation that caused a fight/flight response because we were caught off guard. I had a huge runner’s high going on (the sun at the top of that hill filled me with joy) and was excited to be spending time with my family. Then BOOM. Thankfully, we recovered and went on to enjoy the rest of our day. And to add humor to the situation, my oldest played Dwight Yoakam’s version of “Suspicious Minds” after we got back to the car!

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