Got to keep running and running.
by Amalie Kwassman
Got to keep running and running. Running even when tired, even when the pain is overcoming the sky. Run from the history of two dead parents and a Brooklyn that hurts too much to return to. Run from the knowledge of time, the leukemia only took a month to kill and a car accident mere minutes. Run from the heartbeat of the moon, everything that stays alive after it is technically gone. Run from the memory of the father who always got food stuck in his beard and laughed afterwards. Run from the stars that looked after me because father was not there to do it anymore. Run from the silence of just walking. Walking is too hard after grief. It forces you to listen when all you want to do is scream. It forces you to call to yourself, to recognize your own breathing. I don’t want to trace the sound of my own breath after too much death. I prefer to whisper. I prefer to be loud but always sound. Don’t let them hear you cry is what someone told me after my father’s death. It will make things harder on your mother. But now I can run while I cry. I can run while I scream. I can run. And I can be loud. Because dying is loud. And living is too. And dreaming is loud. And then soft, when I wake up and realize what the world wanted me to do was stop. Stop and listen and beat my chest and go down to the ground and wail to the stars, to the moon, to everything that still dares to move.
The Race Is Still On.
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Amalie Kwassman is a Ph.D. candidate in the Rhetoric and Professional Communication program at Iowa State University. She also holds an M.F.A in Poetry from Iowa State University and is a graduate of Smith College with a major in Women’s Studies. A spoken word poet since her teens, Amalie has performed her poems at the Anne Frank House, Dixon Place, Brooklyn Academy of Music, Nuyorican Poet’s Cafe, and at various other venues. Her poems have been published in Salt Hill, Ruminate, Cosmonauts Avenue, and elsewhere.