Treadmill by Sandra Anfang

The treadmills at the gym look out on Main Street. I’m long past squeamishness at being Exhibit A, a Macy’s window poster child. A couple pushes a stroller past the brick facade. I wait for their child to plant his palms upon the glass. Sometimes I wave to them.

When the mother stops, bends over the seat, I realize there’s no baby, just a pile of coats and hangers, plastic bags and bungee cords. Her partner walks a few feet in front of her.

As my brain tries to square this scene, a beefy boy-man two machines down says, That was strange. I know, I answer. There’s no baby. I think they’re homeless. Where’s the shopping cart? he asks. They always have them. I’m Dante, by the way.

For three minutes we dissect the couple. Dante, wedded to the shopping cart explanation, reaches hard for connection. Does he know I’m twice his age? Does he care? I’m a splinter between aberrant worlds until I meet Pythagoras aping me in the glass.

I smile at the well-trained animals of our bodies running their laps, ensconced in the capsules of our shiny metal orbits.

A prize-winning Northern California teacher, poet, and visual artist, Sandra Anfang is the author of four poetry collections and several chapbooks. Her poems have appeared in numerous journals including *Poetalk, San Francisco Peace and Hope*, *West Trestle Review*, two *Healdsburg Literary Guild *anthologies, *The Tower Journal, Corvus Review, River Poets Journal, Unbroken, Clementine Poetry Journal *and* Spillway. *In her chapbook, *Looking Glass Heart* (due from Finishing Line Press in January, 2016), she explores themes of introversion and mirroring. Sandra is a new California Poet/Teacher in the schools and is the founder and host of the monthly poetry series, Rivertown Poets, in Petaluma, CA. She believes that poetry is medicinal and one of the highest forms of truth-telling.