The Back I Carry

I carry a spinal column with a sliding vertabra. Spondilythesis they call it, invisible, wordless it told me to say goodbye to the miles and miles and months of hiking trails, around Kent Lake, Phoenix Lake, Crater Lake, Yosemite, Shasta, Mount Tam, Mount Diablo, and countless others. I carry the memory of the oak walking stick that my father carved for me, that now only digs into the rug of my bedroom. I carry the shirts I received from the 5k, 8k, the half marathon when I woke at 5am to get my calories in before the 7am start. I carry the pain of the days when I kept trying, kept charging the high hills surrounding Noe Valley, until the Kaiser doctor said no more. I carry the plastic placard with the seated stick figure from the DMV, remembering the sunset on the Bolinas ridge trail, saying goodbye, like I said goodbye to dunking a basketball, jumping over the tennis net, like I will one day say goodbye to it all.