face in the mud. the smell, the stench of an old puddle.
soaked through the clothes, some in the mouth.
runners passing, not noticing, dodging.
the race continues.
a scraped knee, a scuffed elbow.
missed the mark, hit hard.
not the first time, not the last.
efforts to rise; to no avail.
the strain of muscles tired and
worn from this days race.
more effort. every ounce, every drop.
tightening, teeth clenching.
knuckles white with the exertion
of energy already used. one foot up.
mud still caked on, clings as if for life.
renewed heart energy is expended
to its last little drop.
injuries compounded, stacked like layers.
some from terrain. some from error.
its part of the race, the cost, the price.
eyes gaze. as if reaching for the sky.
for something to cling to. to grasp and hold.
the race goes on.