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Red Paint

philip arnold / poem

Ghost Runners

When there was less of me to go around

they were always there—

in the crow gaze, 

in the scorch of afternoons.

Every crow knew this and passed it along—

bones made of light are muscled by the sun.  

In the spectacle of the summer’s long day,

the ghost runners extended the game and tempted me 

to see the future for what it was— 

scattershot the way the wind launches 


In those odd hours of play, 

solitude was overtaken when I waved them home

and when the distance shortened

and I left them to the fall of night, 

they were already gone.


Philip Arnold is the author of the poetry collection The Natural History of a Blade (Dos Madres Press, 2019), whose poems are set in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina. His poetry has appeared in Arts & Letters, Iowa Review, Rattle, Honest Ulsterman, and Southern Poetry Review.


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