North Charleston, South Carolina, April 4, 2015
Walter Scott must have been a track athlete
before serving his country, having children:
his knees were high, elbows bent
at 90 degrees as his arms pumped
close to his sides, back straight and head up
as each foot landed in front of the other,
a majesty in his last strides.
So much depends on instinct, ingrained
legacies and American pastimes.
Relays where everyone on the team wins
remain a dream. Olympic arrogance,
black men chased for sport—
heat after heat
of longstanding, savage races
that always finish the same way.
My guess is Walter Scott ran distances
and sprinted, whatever his life events
required. Years of training and technique
are not forgotten, even at 50. Even after being
tased out of his right mind. Even in peril
the body remembers what it has been
taught, keeping perfect form
during his final dash.
“Perfect From” first appeared in Prairie Schooner and is from Starshine & Clay (Four Way Books, 2017)