“This illusion trips him. . . . He runs.
Ah: runs. Runs.”
                       John Updike, Rabbit, Run


This step-after-step chase-to-the-afterlife
invites detours—dust: the afterthought kicked up
by heels leaving the scene: I run,
you run, he runs, she runs, they run
away, beyond, the body dragging
the last of its soul by a shoelace.

Over deserts, over cliffs,
over lakes—frozen and un—
over hotel Gideons and attic King James,
over Good News for Modern Man
and Book of Common Prayer,
the feet punctuate their ellipses, pivot
to prodigal or penitent;
you can’t tell by the flesh
blistered with persistence.
It’s the finish line that knows,
the aching tendons that remember.