To the Teenage Boy Running Around the Track Outback on Friday Afternoon

A poem for you from me.

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Looking out the window at the back parking lot 

at the teenage boy wearing his biggest sweatshirt

as he runs around the track in his fuzzy green hat 

and last year’s basketball sneakers I want to yell

“I see you buddy! You got this! Just keep going!”

Who cares if you’re slow and your feet are cement blocks?

Who cares if it’s cold and the air in your lungs 

keeps coming out in increasingly bigger puffs?

I care, pal. I care. 

And I want you to know that even though I’m here 

sitting in my new desk chair with my swanky new 

desk stand for my laptop and my ergonomic 

backrest with my head sitting in my hands

I want to be where you are.

Running in slow circles in last year’s running shoes

feeling the steady pavement absorb my footfall

wishing for a brief moment in time that my mind 

and my body could separate from each other.

Are you happy out there running in slow circles?

Is it worth the sweat to know that when it’s over

you’ll start to like yourself more than you did before?

Are you doing it for some girl to think you’re cute

or is it for that coach you still want to impress?

What makes you do it?

The clock on the wall keeps ticking in my ear and 

I have half a mind to time you as the minutes 

creep by like a careful grandma walking on ice.

But wouldn’t that defeat the purpose for us both?

We don’t really want to think about time passing.

You want to be young forever and I want to

believe that it’s possible for time to stand still.

We each want things life can never give us don’t we?

But there’s beauty in that blue sky above your hat.

It calls to me from my second floor window seat.

“It’s Friday. Time to be done thinking. Come outside.”

I take my boots off slide on last year’s running shoes 

pull on my hat and mittens then I’m out the door.

Be with you soon and we’ll both stay young forever.

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People look for retreats for themselves, in the country, by the coast, or in the hills . . . There is nowhere that a person can find a more peaceful and trouble-free retreat than in his own mind. . . . So constantly give yourself this retreat, and renew yourself.


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