Young Man: In Reference to Death, that Final Act of Villainy
by Jason Mott
The affair of night running began as an escape
from the angry arms of a disgruntled July
in which fields dried to brown chalk
and death hung in trees, waiting.
But night was another life.
The wind spoke to the ache in shoulders,
eased away salt clinging to skin,
effervesced from the slick of sweat.
The running was all too easy at first, so much
imitating emotion or pronouncing a name.
I could live in the warm, soft hollow of night,
subsist by gnawing the wet of its edges
and running further and further away
from the dusty, gray box called home
where memory crawled across its floors
like a child with broken legs. My feet
pounded the night and there was time to think,
moments to dream, opportunities to choose
the dynamics of a world. The next poem,
I would say, will be about Captain America,
or the Flash, and social/cultural identity. Then the miles
came and went and the night was still there
and I wore my sweat like an unbreakable
shield, even when my ankle rolled
and the pain became a cancer spreading
from tendon to bone to lung, heart and brain
and there was no choice but to stop, clutch
at the wounding, and listen to the sound
of my labored lungs—my father lived there,
in the soft, burning pockets of my lungs,
wheezing, trembling, passing his last breath
into me—a small, awkward heirloom for carrying.
Hobbling home, I saw the corpse of a young dog
rolling in the perfume of death. It lay roadside,
tongue swollen and lolling from its mouth.
Its eyes asked: Don’t you know me?
Jason Mott recently finished his MFA in Poetry at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington. He has been published in various journals, including The Kakalak Anthology of NC Poets, The Thomas Wolfe Review and Measure.
© 2008 prickofthespindle.com