The Runner

by Max Binks-Collier
drawing by David González

He gasps, like a born-again resurfacing.

Heart flaps in sync with the wingbeat

of a dove. Sneakers grasp that street,

rasp, like scratching emery,

and thwack, as fast as his pulse

and the “ungh” and “ahh!”

and cracks and creaks of his back.


His footfalls are hi-hats.

Heartbeat that boom-bap.

Beatboxing with each breath.

Bass-kick as kicks hit pavement,

uncaging cadences as ancient

as boom-box banging from cavemen’s

bones on stones, exposing marrow:

old-school flows in tensed toes

bent close to threadbare soles.


Syncopation as he staggers up steps.

Sweat like droplet words of hip-hop

that swerve into a sentence

on the palimpsest of his chest

where Gospel and graffiti coalesce.

Twinges of ligaments his liturgy

and his exhales his exegesis,

sounding like wings ruffling

right as a dove is airborne.

His respiration a trembling litany

as fragile as bird bones bearing:

In the beginning was the Word.




[Max Binks-Collier is a writer and journalist currently in Toronto. He has published fiction in Joypuke MagazineRed Herring, and Dark Moon Digest. His poetry has appeared in The Veg. Non-fiction work of his, from narrative non-fiction to essays, has been published in Graphite PublicationsHistorical Discourses, and 24OurMusic.

David Gonzalez is a Montreal-based artist that specializes in drawing, illustration, and textile work. You can find him at or Instagram at hypermasc.]