some of the runners are
still traveling and tired from
yesterday’s marathon and perhaps
the brief spring pink tree weekend before
and I realize that
all these paths are cycles and
they cannot have reached the end and
they cannot have returned to the high beginning
here, so close to the level of the sea

tomorrow I might follow their example
and walk a few miles farther down to
stand by the park at world’s end and
drink from the ocean with a straw
until it is dry and I am
a thousand years older
more extravagantly bearded and
thoroughly made of salt

when it is done and
if it is done I can
turn to leave myself
and begin
year by year
again to ascend