i hold the hurt in the hollow bowl of my hips,
tipping my head to look for shooting stars
amid the fireworks. a too-
wet summer crawls up the newly scrubbed base
of the monument behind us: southern soldiers
un-graffiti-ed before September’s big race.
it doesn’t feel like independence, somehow,
or even reconciliation; more like a love
fizzled out before ever hitting night air.
It is a little over a mile each way,
dappling sidewalks punctuated
by tree roots and cobbled street pavers;
up to Chimborazo and the old war hospital.
The road ends as it did back then:
at Oakwood– a mile, as i have said, to the gates,
threading a future through the laces
of my worn out running shoes. Touching
fingertips to the stone arch, i turn
& say not today, re-turning to eke
on with whatever of existence
is given in the next twenty-four,
until tomorrow, when i again
run this little-over-a-mile heavy-
footed dream, a Nike pre-swoosh,
arriving late: i have thrown away
more chances yet than i have claimed,
boiled what is left down to this little-
over-a-mile and the gates where,
one Saturday long ago, i saw an owl
in sunlight perched on a granite cross.