Sunday, April 26, 2009

After the marathon

I will burn these sneakers, which have panged me
and pained me step after step,
over hills that had no names
but the ones I cursed them with,
down cobbled and crowded streets,
for mile after counted mile.

I had hoped this would allow me
to be alone with my thoughts.
Then I learned my only thoughts were:
I hate to run I’m kookoo for CoCo Puffs.
I hate to run I’m kookoo for CoCo Puffs.

I will sacrifice these $120 sneakers;
laces, tread and trademarked material,
the name of which is changed each season
by advertising types (from Hydro-this
to That-max) bent on making them obsolete.

Ever found bloody toenails in your sock?
It’s like those dreams in which
you lose your teeth. Then you might know
why I have to destroy these socks, too,
sodden evidence of my human frailty.

The smoke from my pyre
will be displeasing even unto
the Lord Himself, who has seen fit
to afflict me with everything but a plague of locusts –
stitches, shin splints, blisters,
cramps, voices in the head.
I would have welcomed the locusts.
On those twenty-mile days
I could have used the company.

After the marathon, I will never run again.
Not for subway doors closing, nor for taxis,
not from murderers, nor from ex-girlfriends.
I will stop my ears against the silence calling
from the vaulted cathedral inside my chest,
the thin threnodies my muscles sing,
the lost echo that falls down the cisterns of the mind,
the lure of that void, where there is nothing
but the temple gong of my heart,
and all thought and desire end.

Mark Aiello