Summer’s running behind feels a bit mean
To a person already running behind,
A forced vertigo of sorts I can’t calibrate
My own behind-ness to: here in the early
Autumn of my life I’m still sweating
A summer boy’s things and the blurring
Faces of those I run by on the street
Of my life. I’m worried about what I’m
Missing by not standing still. By never
Getting up to speed. Time runs ahead,
The orange soles of her sneakers glistening
Over night’s damp suburban grass.
One wet evening, in the light of a white-faced lawn
Jockey, she’ll be waiting, stretching her legs
For a last run with me.
Talking after running
The heart after running is less likely
to lose itself to ledge or leap. It has
Asserted resolve over a measurable distance.
So if the heart leaps after running, it is more
Than a magnitude of muscle memory. Doesn’t
The steady heart know the world’s greatest
Victories are like fireflies in a July field
I walk across after the night’s mile has cooled
Me down? Steadier than these glimpses
Of what threads through us, across time
And space. Yet it leaps as though into the light
for words it might wander toward
If this path did not already describe it best.
When October’s morning glories trumpet our loss, you run.
When the day’s color concedes itself to leaves, you run.
When the earth rotates against you, you run harder.
When the earth changes its mind about you
and carries you along with it, you run faster.
When the skein of pain tightens across your thighs,
you run more. When our hands tell the time
in the dead hours where memory is sand,
you pull me from the bed and two hundred feet
below the earth by the gorge’s lasting stream we run.
When the moon flows like the reflection
it is, you run across the river of stars and your feet
do not splash against the night. Because the night
is as shallow as a puddle and you are as light
as the reflection of streetlights above you, and as still as you are
in the soul of my sleep, ahead of the curve of memory, you run.
After a Late Afternoon Run in Thornrose Cemetery on the Last Day of March
I lie on my back on the eastern slope.
The clouds are close. Moving as if on an escalator.
When I get up, ten thousand blades of grass
do the same, rising slowly, bent in the middle
But straightening, unburdened.