Page 26 - 2017 Autumn-Winter Issue
P. 26

© ihervas /                               Now I Run Alone

                                                          by Jack Mackey

                                                          We didn’t follow my plan.
                                                          At first I heard
                                                          the tap-patting of your sneakers next to mine
                                                          I slowed us down
                                                          teaching, holding
                                                          We were supposed to stay together
                                                          take it slow
                                                          cross the finish line together.
                                                          The mile clock blinked our lazy time as we swam
                                                          through the dusky mist
                                                          through wet evening soggy air
                                                          and garden hose spray
                                                          we sweat through our clothes
                                                          down our tanned legs
                                                          our breath heavy, strong, together
                                                          not knowing
                                                          we’d do this
                                                          only one more time.
                                                          Only tonight we darted
                                                          through the dwindling numbers, up the lonely hill,
                                                          gaining speed as our bodies
                                                          settled into synchronous steps
                                                          then surged.
                                                          You stayed next to me,
                                                          feet patting the pavement when you didn’t speak
                                                          turning suddenly,
                                                          asking –
                                                          Dad, can I go on ahead?
                                                          I released my grip -
                                                          Be careful!
                                                          Watching your hair wave
                                                          the strewn and struggling masses
                                                          turning a corner
                                                          run on and
                                                          finish ahead of me.

                                                          Jack Mackey is a retired management consultant. He lives in Rehoboth Beach,
                                                          Delaware with his partner and their Cairn terrier. This poem was inspired by
                                                          his son Kevin, who was a runner. Kevin was killed at age 14 by a drowsy driver.

                             2 6 |We Need Not Walk Alone
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