Alessio Zanelli

Down The Homestretch poem
The dirt road to Baita Segantini near Passo Rolle, Trentino, Italy

Down The Homestretch

It’s next to
impossible to know beforehand
whether tears or a smile will come more naturally
the exact moment when—the green days long gone and
the gold ones speeding away—one feels like turning back to
watch the distance covered, contemplate it, rejoice about the
pace having never been too fast, regret it hasn’t been slow
enough. And the dust raised all along—still hovering—
impedes one’s sight: it’s no use straining the eyes,
one had better desist, forget, look

Thus there
will be no turmoil when—finally facing
the mirror at the end of the course, beyond which
nothing and everything coincide, the brown days down to
fumes as well—in the eyes glossy with disenchantment both
the winner and the loser can be seen. By force of habit one will
shrug one’s shoulders, drop one’s gaze, take one more step—
the final one—as if it were just one out of millions, unless
the very first indeed. No one will even deign to say
goodbye or leave a note—that’s all
there is to it.

First published in Other Poetry (UK)