Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Day 16: What Saved You

after Pablo Neruda’s “I’m Explaining a Few Things”


It was running that saved me.  Strobes of  legs 
over sidewalk then trail,  the sweet burn in lungs 
that carried me up the steep, rocky climb 
of Cobblestone –until the trees thinned 
and opened up to reveal  the cool eye 
of the lake, a flat, cat tailed cataract,
above the loom of a grey sky.  Until,
I caught my breath and swallowed the weight of
my friend’s faraway voice, as she stood on
a silver rooftop in Brooklyn looking
as the buildings fell, then the ashes fell.

It was the same rooftop we’d sat on days
drinking diet coke and getting a tan
nights drinking in whatever stars the sky
revealed to us.  I was running because
I couldn’t get into my car, and drive
across the scar of the plains to heal her.

But that was years ago, when running was
something I’d won back from my broken body.

Now my body is broken again.  Now 
my heart is broken again and there is 
nowhere to run. The campus is sedate.  
My students do not speak about
the bombings in Boston.  There were many

races – my children held in my husband’s
arms waiting for me at the finish line. 
Crossing was to enter into their arms,
into the joy of so many open arms.

Now, there is blood on the streets Boston.
There is the blood of runners and children
on the streets of Boston and I cannot
run away from it.  There is blood on the
streets of Boston and it could be the blood
of my children, my husband, my sweet friends.


When you remember your life you look back
at a sequence of events like clockwork.
It is so easy to forget what was
hard. What carnage will we remember?
What story will be told of these years if
we do not drive across the thick scar of
the plains, look into the sore of the Grand
Canyon and speak loud enough until our
voices carry across that great expanse.  
There is blood on the streets of Boston.
There is blood on the streets of Boston. 
There is blood on the streets of Boston.   

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