In 2013 I ran the Boston Marathon. It was not my fastest marathon, but easily my best. Then bombs exploded. People were maimed and killed and an entire city lay wounded. On the plane ride home I wrote At the Finish. Boston 2013 was to be my last marathon, but my running tribe was compelled to qualify for 2014 and help Boston with their healing, an effort that was covered by Austin Meek of the Eugene Register Guard.

At the Finish

For the people of Boston and
runners who love them.

In flat black River Boylston lined with
willows of cheering people swim
schools of runners carried on
aching strides then staggering
spawned out drunk on dead tired joy
through two city blocks of
smiles
congratulations
nice job
how ya doin'?

We lie in a quiet eddy of
green Commons grass
no storm nearby then
echoing thunder a
serene pause soon
sirens and whirling lights
holiday ambulance colors
happy red fire trucks chased by
urgent black cars sporting
flashing blue strobes over
faceless tinted windows.

Dark tavern refuge with
stereo tv in dim corners playing
muted booms birthing
orange fireballs bulging outward
under smoke mercifully screening
tattered legs and torsos and
indignant blood of children a
slaughterhouse corral of
twisted metal railing
pulled from mangled people
all the pictures playing
over and over until
exhausted I nod into
unwanted beer too
weary to watch my wife crying.

I’m running again this time a
spinning treadmill from hell
endless stolen
lives limbs spirits
over and over a
deep crease forming in my
fertile unformed center dividing
anger and sadness
twin children of grief
over and over somehow
growing hope and forgiveness
never televised but
where else can we run?