100-Meter Dash

Face set hard, cold somewhere beyond the finish line
Rich blue, lush green, and a blood red track—but she never
sees the colors and fans would never see the butterflies
like I do, like I’ve felt under her skin

reaching onward; more power in each stride as
toes touch track, explode, arms pull, extend but
explain me this: why do you run this race
while I watch you and why do I still watch when I know the end?
Your foot will cross the finish line first though
still unhappily you’ll rest your head at my chest;
comforted by my arms at your waist.

Never good enough.

Still, I watch you with your
face set hard, cold somewhere beyond the finish line.

written in 2003

In April this year, I committed to post a poem a day for National Poetry month. I wrote this poem in college during a writing class that asked me to consider an image for inspiration. This poem was the result, only I gave the narrator a third person voice because I learned a lot trying to see myself through someone else’s perspective. There are three perspectives captured in this poem — the photographer’s, the speaker’s, and mine sneaking in for that echo of the first line for a circular poem to boot.

If all the freedom poetry allows intimidates you as much as infinity does me, here are three tips from “100-Meter Dash”: try writing about a picture that means something to you, narrating about yourself from someone else’s perspective, or starting and ending a stanza with the same line to give it a frame.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s