Sweat

By Jason Harris

I’ve never understood moderation—I run three miles a day four days a week to save my life, to lighten the pressure my blood applies to the arteries in my heart; the treadmill breathes beneath my feet and every time the last mile taunts me, its barb similar to the barbs that hooked me as a child: picked on as a kid for my dark skin in class photos, mocked for the tremble in my Black lips when my mother kissed me goodbye and drove off, reprimanded in fourth grade for axin the teacher a question instead of asking–I spend a lot of time now decentering the white gaze from my psyche; I spend a lot of time now running twelve miles a week to extend my time here, to live in my Blackness and rejoice in it, to not be silenced by medical maltreatment; I’ve only now discovered my purpose: to be alive and to tell you about the birds dreaming of a cleaner planet, about how the birds and I dream the same dream, about how we are neither innocent of destruction nor calculated action; if God stretches a blue finish line across the sky, I hope I’m the last to cross it because this is a race I don’t care to lose; I’ve spent the latter half of my life rebuilding my identity and daily it slips from my hands like bird seeds; it drips from beard in beads like sweat; look, no machine ever made me feel less human than the one holding me in its lung—if a thing keeps me alive I devour it.



Jason Harris is an American writer.


Photo by Jason Harris.