, July 19, 2024

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Stress Test


  •   1 min read
Stress Test
Tim Marshall on Unsplash
by Vincent R. Pozon

The chest tightens as I struggle to stay longer on the treadmill. It is an early stage. “Look forward, think of something pleasant, a pleasant time in your life,” the doctor advised.

I walk into warm waters, into a strait of
wavelets drawing the edge of Toledo City
I walk until I can not, until

I have to use my arms and legs
Chest knotting, I pause while paddling
to look back at the shore, at life, at work

'How are you feeling, sir?'

The treadmill inclines with a loud whir
and I feel the sand between my toes
I would dash to the beach daily after

bounding out of bed and before
raw eggs on hot rice, run barefoot on
the asphalt road cooled by the night air

I would hurry to the beach again before
sundown and dinner, before the sounds
of crickets and bayle from the town plaza

'We are slowing it down now, sir'

I go to the water alone but sometimes
the sea would grant me a bamboo pole
aged, weathered and darkened by salt

this is what will flash before my eyes
wavelets redrawing the shore of Toledo
as I swim to a distance where I can rest

the bamboo pole is under my arm
they're setting the table for dinner
back on land but I will stay a while

I turn to look back at the shore
now small, the shore of sixty eight years
and I push the bamboo pole away.


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