As the black wings close in on you, their circling shadows blighting the sand, and your limp legs buckle, far from that shimmering oasis on the horizon, as you face the implacable, hoping for one more lucky reprieve which you feel in your quivering heart will arrive a moment too late, still, even after the first white pill, you will not surrender, for back there somewhere, safe from the hovering vultures, is that sketchy grand design, that revolution on the drawing board—no, all these years you've resisted that sleek seducer, Completion—and now, as the mask snugs over your face, you feel your legs go young again, heading out for the shimmering palm trees they will never reach, and you suck in great welcome gulps of the endlessly possible.
Copyright © 2003 by Philip Appleman. Reprinted from the Paris Review. Used by permission of the author. All rights reserved.