Twice past the Naval estate, past the Racecourse,
past Palmerston Farm, the cricket club, the Lane.
Close to four miles, while the family sank to evening.
The Olympics had done it, Grand Prix, gold,
the family rapt by the flickering fulfillment.
Inspiration, aspiration, puff and blow.
The first half-mile was the purest, always,
the calves’ vibrancy, the sweet straight breath.
The gasping, rasping later he attuned to.
The family meanwhile slobbed on TV news,
domestic Masterminds overseeing all,
earnest and dazzled and enraged by turns.
Winter, he kept laps going, maverick man,
ever more excluded, lonely, as the streetlights
flickered thinly in November murk.
Robert Nisbet is a Welsh poet who lives about 30 miles down the coast from Dylan Thomas’s boathouse. His poems have been published widely and in roughly equal measures in Britain and the USA, where he is a regular in SanPedro River Review, Jerry Jazz Musician and Panoply. Robert is a 2020 Pushcart Prize nominee for his poem “Cultivation.”