A LETTER TO MY RUNNING SHORTS by Katia Kozachok


Painting by Seon-Jeong Kim


A LETTER TO MY RUNNING SHORTS

I was never good enough for you.
You were a waistband too tight against
my skin, leaving indents like you
were trying to erase my presence.
You were gray, a dingy color
stained by sweat and catcalls.
You were short, showing off
the freckled thighs, doughy
calves that had never run enough.
You were a size twelve, found
at Target. By that, I mean a size
made for girls barely adolescent,
bought on a whim before track
season started. My best friend,
second‐to‐worst enemy (after
the scale). You were always
about punishment, one more,
one more. Eat less, run more.
Isn’t that what healthy is?

I found you in my closet last
week. By that, I mean I
simultaneously wanted to
send flames up your seams
and run five miles without
eating enough beforehand.
My grandma asked if I still
run often. I didn’t know what
to say; betray you or betray
myself? I settled for a half‐truth,
like an increasing average on
MyFitnessPro. (You know
the type.) You’re at the bottom
of my laundry basket. Somehow,
I cannot bear to leave you alone.
I should be apologizing to myself
instead of a pair of shorts, but
old habits run deep.



Katia Kozachok

Katia Kozachok’s writing has been recognized by the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards and Sierra Nevada. She’s been published in Eunoia Review, The Riveter Review, and The Cadaverine, among others. She’s a genre editor for Polyphony HS, and a poetry reader for The Blueshift Journal.