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seven mile walk

by Maria Francesca

it's a seven mile walk -
doesn't go anywhere in particular,
just gets my heart pumping
and makes my calf muscles tighten up for awhile.
three point five two miles out
from Main and Johnson to Main and Jamacha
and back to Main and Johnson
past the mysterious deli that never seems to be open
and the place that sells pvc gazebos,
then past the collection of middle eastern restaurants
and american fast food places
and that dreadful smorgasborg that smells
like a bag of mixed-up table scraps.
up ahead, there's the picturesque three-block
Main-Street-in-Middle-America,
carefully orchestrated
with its old-timey facades
and ornate old-timey streetlamps
and clock tower;
the locals bring their classic cars every Wednesday night
while the radio station blasts appropriate old-timey music
and all the motor heads get together
and try to feel old-timey.
I walk on,
past the pawn shops and second-hand stores
and past a middle-eastern grocery
where they're selling tee-shirts
on a table out front emblazoned with the flag of Iraq;
the salesman laughs with his eyes
at my bemused expression;
I smile back with a shrug and a quirked eyebrow:
this is America, baby,
and I guess that's the point.
just a few more blocks
past the trailer park
and a church of whose denomination I have never heard
and I'm there, at Jamacha.
I check my pedometer and my watch
and figure I'd better head back,
and it all goes by again,
like I've somehow managed
to relive the past forty minutes or so
only darker this time since it's getting late.
I make it most of the way home
before I approach a shaggy-looking old man
slumped against a chain-link fence at a bus stop.
I avert my gaze
but he speaks to me anyway:
'do you have some money so I can get some food?', he says,
pointing with his eyes at a burger place across the street,
and I reach into my fanny pack, pull out a dollar
and hand it to him without breaking stride
and I get about twelve feet away
before I stop
and reach again into the pack,
this time pulling out my remaining ten
and walking back to hand it to him;
payday is day after tomorrow
and there's plenty of food in my kitchen
and you can't even buy fries for a dollar anymore.
I get home a few minutes later
and take a shower
and I feel as though I've walked across the world and back
and I think I just might sleep alright tonight.

07/19/2008

Posted on 07/20/2008
Copyright © 2020 Maria Francesca

Member Comments on this Poem
Posted by Alison McKenzie on 07/20/08 at 05:30 AM

Maria, this is just so perfect. I've been walking, in the mornings, but my stretch is not quite as colorful as yours. :-) I just love this!!!

Posted by George Hoerner on 07/21/08 at 02:16 AM

Very nicely done! So descriptive and we should all pay more attention to the detail. Well done!

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