The History of Running


The history of running is mostly away,
not chasing but chased, crashing

through darkness. A twig snaps
behind it, stark as a starter’s pistol,

and the history of running kicks out
of the blocks and does not turn its head.

The history of running takes place
mostly elsewhere. Like a scream

on a spring day, it seems somehow
source-less, like a dog without tags

plaiting a path around swing sets
and slides, past the whistling track

where high schoolers lope
in disinclined packs. It is never

for sport, and there is no line
a girl could bow her chest over,

arms flung behind her, because
the history of running only ends

in death or more running. While you—
a jogger in shorts sailing over

your thighs like rich ships—
pocket your keys and trot out,

the history of running gets on a bus
and leans its head to the window

until the heat of its breath
makes it too cloudy to see.