Zeno’s Nephew at the Track by Adam Hanover

A black-toothed wino on hands and knees
scours the parking lot for a winning stub
to the fourth race, and in my haste
to reach the ticket booth in time
for the seventh, what my uncle,
a professional handicapper, calls
the “surefire, can’t miss bet of the night,”
I almost step on the wino’s callused hand.
Passing through the turnstile I hear
Achilles announced over the public address
as the fastest of the Greeks, and I smirk
from the insider knowledge that he’s no match
for the tortoise’s head start. It’s a paradox—
in order to catch up, he must get halfway,
but to get halfway, he must go
a quarter of the way, ad infinitum.
The gun fires. Achilles explodes off the blocks,
overtaking the nearly stationary shell
in effortless, galloping strides.
He never even breaks a sweat, in fact.
I drop my stub in the dust
and scan the terrace for my uncle,
shooting a glare in his direction
as he puts his head in his hands,
and all I wonder is how his palm reached
his face without stopping halfway.

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