Running with David

by Shizhou Yang, PhD


He wore his yellow boots

He was in his grey shorts

His shirt numbered 23, big and black

His hair blonde

His face smiling

I knew him because I ran with him

side by side in the Mercer Madness

Five-Mile Race

For he jogged in his yellow boots

and I my blue jeans and red T-shirt

For he had told me he was four years old

For he had decided to run ahead of his grandparents

For he had pressed his little left hand into my bigger right hand

For he turned and gasped out, “We should not let them beat us!”

Between us, that was no less than an army command

And so we crossed the bridge of University Drive

And down the slope and up the slope

And David said, “We should never stop!”


I already forgot where a big guy got ahead of us,

and then a big girl

I thought it was over but it wasn’t

For David said, “We should not let them beat us!”

And we ran, and we ran,

And David gave another command

“Even if we lose this time, we will win in the next!”

And we ran, and we ran, passing two ladies

with or without saying “Excuse us!”

And that was great

For who ever we saw next

David would declare our triumph

“We passed two people!”

“We passed two people!”

as if what we threw behind were the whole world.

And we ran and we ran until the very end

Where we got our picture of victory made.