Summer 1982 • Vol. IV No. 3 Contemporary American Poetry |

Marathon

Across the green which lifts and fallslike ocean, like St Mark's mosaic floorwhose gilded earth the sea buckles and swells,turning on Venice that same supple forceshe used to trouble other shores,her lion-headed ships her battering ram; across the green, how far the runner sails,spread out against the wind, his legsimpelling earth until the earth recoils;or tacks without an effort through her hillsas easily a sailor on his girlsets out at night to bring his vessel home,slapped by the waves that rise and fall for him,the lunar tide that sends him into port. Perhaps he finds a current, and gets on,arriving at Bermuda in an hour;perhaps a northerly and toothsome winddiverts his path, drives his tormented bloodto circle like a whirlpool in his heart;he never has the leisure to prefer. The voyage that he runs will never endas long as time suspends him in the green:his limbs fail, and are mended one by one;his heart breaks, and is filled again; his bonesthrow tendons, which like

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