Twenty-two miles is not a long distance to travel
when you're heading to the mall
on a Friday night.
Twenty-two miles is nothing at Christmastime
when presents, turkey and homemade eggnog
are waiting at grandma's,
who lives way out in the country
by herself on a farm.
Twenty-two miles is a hop and a skip
when you're driving to the next town,
a bigger town than yours,
to watch the midnight showing of a new film in 3D,
the one you've been waiting six months to see.
Twenty-two miles rushes by in a blink
when you're picking up your girlfriend
who you've not seen in a month;
she's arriving at the airport,
But 22 miles lasts forever
when a headwind is howling off the Bering Sea,
and your dogs
are pulling, pulling, pulling
you and your sled
along a stark coastline,
moving ever closer toward a village you can't even see,
and you're the last one,
the Red Lantern,
on the final leg
of a thousand-mile trail
that's been your home for
and 8 seconds,
and all you care about
is hearing the siren,
passing safely through No Man's Land,
hugging the arch,
feeding your dogs,
and drinking that hot coffee
your mind has been smelling for at least two days now.
Warm, luxurious sleep.