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  • Scott F. Parker

The Secret

We don’t tell beginners

But the first mile

Is what every subsequent mile will be

One foot in front of the other

Like time itself

Marked by the entropy

Of your days

First your shoes

Then your knees or hips

Or back

When you began

Trusting that it would get easier

The faith of the long-distance runner

Rewarded by hours and miles


With the same tired doubts

You harbored in your youth

Saturating your flickering consciousness

Until necessity subsumes

The fibers of—

It’s okay, call it


What you are


Like the secret no one

Needed to tell

Your muscles

Exhale foot strike foot strike foot strike inhale

Foot strike foot strike exhale

It does get easier

—and harder

This running

For the joy of running

A million miles from here

If you’re lucky

You’ll be right where you are now

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