The problem with living where you teach,
Especially, if you are there long enough to experience
A full change of hair color
Is that the kids grow up and become adults.
Rarely do they look the same or act the same
And when they say hello,
It’s such a challenge to remember their names.
I’ve been running in a park these last six weeks,
It doesn’t get enough attention from the group I run with,
But that’s nothing for this because I’ve been running solo.
Several weekends in a row, I’ve seen a beautiful brown pit bull,
Giant head, brown and white body, and a graying snout.
He sticks out because his harness is military-grade,
Befitting of his stature.
I always wave to the owner, but in keeping my space,
I’ve been keeping a distance, choosing to focus on the run,
Holding my breath as I pass, and getting on with my business,
Until today when nature called and I deviated to the port-a-potty.
As I stepped out I saw the pit which was right on my path,
His owner said, “Dr. Hancock?”
I stopped, so much for social distancing.
It turned out that my old student, now nearly thirty,
Had been living nearby all along
Working a good job, raising a family, and taking care of his elderly dog.
Funny, because one of the last times I had seen him,
More than twelve years ago, he was explaining to me
Why he had to fight a bunch of guys at school,
“If I don’t, they’ll just jump me at home.”
They never jumped him, again,
As he took care of himself that day.
He never followed into their way of life,
Putting the chollo way as far away from himself as he could
Finishing school, making a life for himself that didn’t include an affiliation.
We talked for a few minutes, mostly about pit bulls, and when we finished
I ran away with a smile. One had made it!