by Scott Hughes
Jogging the Ocmulgee Riverwalk
I chase the me that once was,
the me before the sorrow,
before the tests and defeats.
I outrun the triumphs
so easily forgotten.
The aches are what linger:
the buckling hip,
the throbbing knee,
the sore ankle.
I pursue the lost days
and years, already behind
me like my last step.
I sprint futilely back
toward youth, to warn myself
of worsening things,
yet the wind whips my cheeks,
whispering the good to come,
blessings that are hardest to hear.
About two people die every second,
so now two more somewhere are gone.
Mothers, brothers, fathers, friends, sisters,
and strangers half a world away.
All day we could sit and wonder
who they were, where they were from,
or how, oh God how, they went.
But what good does that do?
The who is not important, and neither
is the how or why, but the when—
the Almighty When, the Hallowed How Long.
Now it’s been six more, maybe eight.
How long will I be?
Just a blip in the grand scheme.
How long will I not be?
Far, far longer, I’m afraid.
Who now slips away with this line?
And who goes with this one?
Poetry and death have been intertwined,
but never more so now. Here. Now.
This poem marks the passing seconds,
the passing souls, another and another…
How long can we keep this going
before the two are you and I?