I Could Run Forever

Eleven years old with legs like a colt; I could run forever.
Arms pumping, grain scratching my knees, my calves, my bare arms and thighs
I ran through the ripening grain with my wheat-coloured hair streaming in my wake
Behind me narrow swaths cut through the grasses.
In an arc pattern, I ran, to cut off the stampeding cow;
to chase it back through the broken fence.
Cutting back and forth, I herded the cow as she zigzagged her unpredictable path,
trying to outrun me, but I could run forever.
My brothers, one taller and two shorter, were fanned out and running full-out as well,
chasing cows, hollering, hoping none had eaten too much, the same as I.
They could run forever too, on those hot summer days,
when the cows broke down the fence, looking for a gluttonous feast.
Later, my brothers and I would gather by the pump,
with sweat running down our necks
and take turns gulping the deep, cold well water.

~ Audrey Seehagen

Audrey Seehagen is an Alberta poet. Growing up “in the country” southwest of Edmonton left a lasting love of the prairie farmlands in her heart and soul. Audrey is an active and contributing member of the Writers Guild of Alberta and the Stroll of Poets.

“Home means… Alberta prairie – rich fertile black soil; exciting blue sky with thunder and lightning, brilliant orange and red sunsets, clear, cold, pale blue winter skies; trees reaching green fingers into the blue summer sky; the smell of lake water and fresh clean air.”

Editor’s note: This poem is from Home and Away – a sequel to the bestselling Writing the Land (2007). Look for one poet to be featured each day as Alberta poets ponder the question “what is home?” and explore our complex relationship with working on, living with, exploiting and protecting our land and our home. For more information about the project, click here.

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