Running Boy by Daniel Williams

Running Boy

Out the window,
a hollow metal thud and clattering.
I stand startled from my desk and see
a boy running madly up the road.

Spotting nothing ahead
to draw him on,
I trace his trail back.
A bike, one tire spinning,
lies on the pavement,
half beneath my truck
where it docks at the sidewalk,
ticking in sunlight,
invisible to a boy
until it knocks him down.
“So,” I mutter, smiling,
“we had a crash.”

The boy dashes away
for fear’s sake, away
from the shadow of my house,
a place of dangerous potential,
every window
an image of wrath
I remember so well
from a childhood spent trespassing,
hacking at trees I didn’t own,
believing no one owns the woods
or fields or sheds and barns with wide open doors,
running terror-struck from voices
of old men,
chased far away by the echo
of their anger in my head,
those ghosts,
my fear of them.

I watch the boy run for cover,
how his whole life is in it,
this escape, a precious thing,
worth running forever,
and I laugh,

I’m the old man now.

by Daniel Williams

Twitter: @dpwillia2

Editor’s Note: This narrative poem uses thoughtful line breaks and clear imagery to convey how nostalgia can become more joy than trauma.