Behind a Man

by Jerry Emerson Loomis

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    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 …

    Illustrated by Peggy Proctor