Penn Relays

More

My father is searching his wrist,
patting with fingers that moments before
nervously fiddled the bedsheet’s hem.
Those of us near see in his fidget
a body reading the braille of its dying.
But all my father wants is his wristwatch,
the one with penn relays running
around the face of the clock. It would give him
some comfort to wear, not that he knows
where he is, not that he cares about time,
but he’s never not had it awake, strapped
to his wrist, not since he and his teammates
won what’s engraved on the back:
Half-Mile Relay Championship of America 1937.

Michael Collier’s most recent collection is An Individual History (2012). He teaches at the University of Maryland.
Jump to comments
Presented by
Get Today's Top Stories in Your Inbox (preview)

Hunting With Poison Darts

An indigenous forest dweller in Borneo explains one of his tribe's oldest customs: the art of the blowpipe.


Elsewhere on the web

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register. blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

I Am an Undocumented Immigrant

"I look like a typical young American."

Video

Juice Cleanses: The Worst Diet

A doctor tries the ever-popular Master Cleanse. Sort of.

Video

Why Did I Study Physics?

Using hand-drawn cartoons to explain an academic passion

Video

What If Emoji Lived Among Us?

A whimsical ad imagines what life would be like if emoji were real.

Video

Living Alone on a Sailboat

"If you think I'm a dirtbag, then you don't understand the lifestyle."

Writers

Up
Down
More back issues, Sept 1995 to present.

Just In