Outdistanced

Written by Bradley W. Buchanan for the collection: 'Life in the time of #COVID'


Who will distance 
themselves the most 
from all this grotesque 
interpersonal mess?
 
I can’t run very fast or far
but I can retreat 
into a remoteness
that few can match 
and fewer still
can penetrate. 
 
Give me six feet 
and I will dive
a thousand leagues
beneath the skin-deep 
human abrasions
to find the silent monster 
at peace
in infinite objectivity.
 
You will die and I will die
in obverse order
with neighborly nods
and wry defiance 
along the way.
 
I step streetwise unhurriedly
and squint at what
I have given way to—
the panting shape 
of a runner 
whose shoes 
are echoes 
greatly outdistancing me
but hardly closer to isolation 
or to safety—
and kiss it goodbye.


Brad Buchanan’s writings have appeared in nearly 200 journals, and he has also published three book-length collections of poetry: 'The Miracle Shirker' (Poet’s Corner Press, 2005), 'Swimming the Mirror: Poems for My Daughter' (Roan Press, 2008), and 'The Scars, Aligned: A Cancer Narrative' (Finishing Line Press, 2019). He has also published two academic books, and has recently written blog entries for 'Poets & Writers' and SacWellness.com. His essay “I’m Done with Being a Cancer Survivor: What I am Now is a GvHD Patient” was published in 'Prometheus Dreaming', an online journal. He was diagnosed with T-cell lymphoma in February 2015, and underwent a stem cell transplant in 2016, which involved temporary vision loss and disability, as well as an ongoing illness: chronic Graft-versus-Host Disease. 

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