10 years, 9 months ago 0
Posted in: Poetry
Fourty-Two Kilometers

It’s a perfect day for a marathon in Berlin
Months of preparation over.
We stand squeezed between strangers,
My son and I, numbers pinned to our chests,
Favorite shoes carefully laced,
Waiting for the starter’s gun.

I crane to see the running legends
toe the line up front
But seventeen thousand people
Block my view. So instead,
I stare at my small feet
At the microchip on my shoe,
At my son’s strong legs.

Time was when I carried him
On my hip. Later he clutched
My calves, dragged on my hand,
Afraid of being left behind.
“Wait, carry me!” he’d wail.
Then I’d hoist him up and
We’d walk home together.
The crack of the gun.

A jostling of bodies, and we’re off
He runs easily at my side,
Elbow to shoulder, through ten,
Fifteen and twenty-two kilometers.
But his stride is longer, stronger.
My twenty extra years cannot match
His pace. Slowly he draws away.

He looks back. I don’t clutch.
I smile. Because today, I know
Where we are going,
I’m not afraid of being left behind,
But I am afraid of that tomorrow when
I will need to ask, “Wait, carry me.”

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