Today, as I jogged down the center line
of a closed-off, rain-glossed road, lost in a rhythm,
the memory of a boy returned: fifteen

or so, barefoot in faded cut-off jeans,
sprinting past neighbors’ houses, tears drifting
into his ears, heart yanking at its seams—

he hoped they’d rip and didn’t slow at all
for more than a mile. After crossing Mission,
the boy collapsed beneath an oak, his whole

body one cramp. (But later the secret smile,
imagining Guinness there—the clock-men stunned!)
Twenty years gone, that race so vivid still,

yet I can’t for the life of me recall the gun:
who was it, or what, that made me start to run?

 

 


Geoffrey Brock’s translation of Cesare Pavese’s complete poems, Disaffections, was named one of the Best Books of 2003 by The Los Angeles Times.

This article originally appeared in The New Criterion, Volume 23 Number 3, on page 26
Copyright © 2017 The New Criterion | www.newcriterion.com
https://newcriterion.com/issues/2004/11/mezzo-cammin