POEM XXXV: “MARATHON RUNNER, FEBRUARY THIRD.”

There’s always one
of those wild-eyed and squirrely folk
bounding across the Mass. Ave. Bridge
in a pair of tiny shorts
and nothing else
in the subzero meatlocker blast freezer chill
of February in Boston.

Crazed with endorphins,
grimacing–or frozen–in a rictus of glee,
he looks like some ancient saint
caught in his moment of ecstasy
as the medieval illustrator starts sharpening his quill
and fetches his bloodiest red ink.

You could not pay me enough,
but there’s the key:
the rewards are all internal,
like onanism
or martyrdom, for that matter.

Which makes it all quite awkward
when you catch the eye
of a marathon runner
in February.

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