She can no longer run. In the slosh of side streets,
she leaves crooked tracks in the dirty snow. Her feet are sinking tug boats.
Jutting blindly off a curb, she is hit by a car.
Writhing in the street, she moans more from exhaustion than from pain.
She is able to crawl. People gather around to offer help.
She waves them away. In the distance, an ambulance siren wails.
She works back towards her apartment, each step the energy of a lifetime.
She is crawling back to her mother. But her mother is not there, has vanished,
an invisible angel over the whitewalls, the graffiti of the city.
In the kitchen, she struggles to stand.
There is a letter on the table. It reads:
You have won your race not because you came in first
or second or third, but because you finished.
She doesn’t read the rest of it.
Groping towards the sink, she wants a glass of water.
It's all she wants.