The Race to the Top

Eden Aulov

My life’s soundtrack is footsteps

Pounding, drumming on the ground

Insatiable, tear-slicked roads

Endless pathways, endless winds.

No matter what,

Seen in the distance,

Are the never tiring, weightless kind

Their legs are strong, their paths are wily,

How is their road so clear, so straight?

There is no rhyme and reason

To their lack of fair constraint.

I run and run

I never cease

It seems the sun pounds on;

My eyes are weak,

My legs are strained,

I cannot bear to hear the sound
Of my wearied, wearied footsteps,

Rhythmic cries to every step,

I run harder, I run faster

Yet the gap never closes, never ends.

Those behind me, I feel their judgment;

Feel their whispers, feel their heat

Yet I also hear thoughts of respect,

That I never falter, never quit.

Those above me laugh and soar,

Wings bestowed upon their backs

My resentment is unrestrainable,

Insatiable, cruel and black.

I cannot catch them, cannot win

The race, it never ends for me!

Give up now? Like a beacon,

Rest calls to me; 

I’ll never be the greatest, always proud

To be the second best, second respected

Number one pays me no heed, no!

He scoffs at me, sees my legs as bones

Cracking, powdering into smoke behind.

Sweat drips down my back through all seasons,

Winter to winter I strain and cry

The cycle continues, 

Time and time again

Rest never comes, only in death.

Do I placate myself with hope?

Do I die in a cold, cold sweat?

The poem has no happy ending,

Creaking and pounding,

It treads on yet.