Song of the Compatriots

by STUART DISCHELL

My friend and I are running on a trail Along the hills outside of town. I am winded but he could go for miles, For hours, for days. He could run Through the night in the forest and by day Across the desert along the highway To Mexico or turn north to the pole. He could find the land bridge to Asia And run all the way to the coast of Spain. We stop in the graveyard above the town He says to me, “fatso,” though I am thin, “I want to run for miles, for hours, for days. I want to run through the night in the forest And all day across the desert along the highway To Mexico. I could turn north to the pole Or find the land bridge to Asia and run All the way to the coast of Spain, But not today because you are my friend.”

STUART DISCHELL is the author of four books of poems, most recently Backwards Days from Penguin Poets. A new chapbook, Standing on Z, is forthcoming from Unicorn Press. Carnegie University Press will be re-issuing his first two collections, Evenings & Avenues and Good Hope Road in its Contemporary Classics Series. He teaches in the MFA program at the University of North Carolina Greensboro.