The roar of the rapids as loud as the drizzle is soft.
Wanderers in slickers flick past,
fingers numb, barely looking.
Oh but you can see them,
the Great Blues, hopping
lonesomely from stone to stone
amid the rush of white water,
nests cold and dizzying and far.
Overhead, there is no rumble.
The tracks stand sad sentinel, drip
down to the worn pages
where Walt marks his yawp,
there, under the trestles,
above the river and the wastewater and the burnt-
out campfires, unrivaled in the rain.
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.