Hot, sticky tar, harsh sun blooming gold
and slicking out sweat from me. My breath
gusts in and out, my face is bright, a red
exclamation point over red uniform,
legs long, burning rubber snaps
with leaded feet attached on thin, wobble string knees.
Hair swings, stirring sluggish heat as feet
pound in tandem with my heart, breath in, out,
and ahead pounds another pair of feet, another
set of lungs, and though we run, long-legged,
sweat-glistening golden girls, I breathe in,
we breathe out, steps slow but sure
for hearts, for feet and shaky coltish legs
and shuddering chests, the red tape
to mark another end to the long, long race.