Running In Place - Poem by Patti Masterman
I saw your shoes lying there as if abandoned,
Kicked off in place where you left them:
One turned on its side, the other several inches away.
It had the appearance of an explosion that knocked you
Clear of your shoes, yet left them precisely positioned,
A sprawling blueprint of your limbs last seizured choreographies.
The same thing happens in the oceans gravid,
Endlessly moving twilight worlds:
Shoes are scattered around the Titanic's rusting hulk,
Even still found in pairs here and there.
Shoes in perpetually waterlogged, rotten rigor mortis.
Some have remained together, as if the owner simply shrugged them off
And went wandering away in search of his lost baggage.
Evidences of lost soles, in the sodden dust of watery oblivions.
The thing is, when I saw the shoes, I thought, but he is dead now-
He has no more need of shoes, so why are these still present,
Why do they lie there so exposed, waiting to be tripped over by the unsuspecting.
My next incongruous thought was, well maybe I am dead too-
So how can I be here noticing such a thing anyway:
A pair of shoes lying there, carelessly discarded?
Then all at once it swept over me, a great sigh of relief at the remembrance of it:
We are still in the living years; neither has left the other to be all alone yet.
Could it be me instead, leaving him first, leaving him earthbound;
Whisked away and wrenched upward out of myself with one farewell gasp?
But it felt so real for a minute, that confusion, that I knew:
I knew that it is already there, up ahead, waiting for us.
Waiting for both of us there, tumbling towards us, coming ever nearer
With each breath, each heartbeat,
Each rising and setting of sun:
A giant meteor hurtling end over end,
Light years away but moving at the speed of light:
We could run in place for years but we could never out-run that.
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