the longest stretch
between ruby jewel aid (mile 29)
and clear lake aid (mile 39)
by lucien darjeun meadows
“The Longest Stretch” is the center poem of a hybrid manuscript that explores place, memory, and identity through the running of the Never Summer 100K ultramarathon. In a sport that focuses on embodiment, it is a very particular type of body that is welcomed and valued. As a queer Cherokee runner, I am increasingly aware of how my embodiments impact the relational human and ecological networks around me. “The Longest Stretch” explores these themes and interrogates some of the often-unspoken privileges and politics of ultramarathon running.
Lucien Darjeun Meadows is a writer of English, German, and Cherokee descent born and raised in the Appalachian Mountains. He has received fellowships and awards from the Academy of American Poets, American Alliance of Museums, National Association for Interpretation, and the University of Denver, where he is working toward his PhD.