Tuesday, September 13, 2011

The Mile

The Mile

The mile is elastic,
can shrink or stretch
based on how we
are traveling on it,

and why. The highway
mile is one minute long
on a clear road, but
twenty minutes long

in a blizzard or
under jackhammers.
The city mile
is a punctured path,

punctuated by
the driver’s toes
pressing down
beneath a red light

that briefly appears,
a lollipop offered,
withdrawn. A country mile
means many, vast acreage

spilling over the earth.
The mile we were
told to walk in gym class,
four times around

the black track, and
the mile I actually
walked, hiding behind
the bleachers halfway

around, waiting for
the class’s faster
runners to pass me
three times

and then jogging out,
breathing hard
to show how far and fast
I could have gone.


  1. Some wonderful lines here in a very good poem: "a red light/... a lollipop offered, / withdrawn" stands out.

    I like very much how you conclude the ending, bringing the poem back around to the opening "The mile is elastic,/ can shrink or stretch...."

    Interesting piece of artwork, too.

  2. "...punctured path,


    The consonants here pound away--like puncturing. Grand!

  3. I love the image of a traffic light as a lollipop offered, then withdrawn. I'll remember that.

  4. : ) Simply lovely and this is why I suppose Americans measure distance in time, so incredibly clever! xx

  5. Those last three stanzas are fun, mischievous, suggestive of something larger . . . what's the word? "Frauds" or "cheats" would be too big and serious. But it's not an entirely innocent, harmless childhood prank either. Is it?


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