Behind a Man

Joe rode a fast horse, strong, and iron-heeled.
Unseen, I raced behind him through the field,
Barefoot on clods across the furrowed land.
I was a boy—I ran behind a man.
The tall man in the saddle was my friend;
It didn’t matter how the race would end.
It didn’t matter that I was so small;
The man I ran behind was ten men tall.
I caught the horse beneath a big shade tree.
Surprised, Joe reined him in, and smiled at me.
He grasped my hand and I climbed up behind,
And I sat saddle tall, behind a man.
Since then, I’ve met all kinds who pass for men,
Who don’t come close to what they could have been.
It isn’t very often that I find
A man I’d run barefoot on clods behind …

[illustration] Illustrated by Peggy Proctor