false start

the whistle blew
and our entire
gym class was off,

charging down
the football field
like a stampeding
herd of buffalo

the pounding footsteps
thundered in our ears,

the earth turned

under our feet–
we all knew how
important this first
race against

our peers was
it was a sorting;

something that could
set a pattern, a template
for all time
nobody wanted to be
that kid that came
in last that day

so we ran for our lives

yet, if I knew then
what I know now
I would’ve walked