Ross Thompson

you were the strong and silent type
excelling in the classroom
and staying clear of the popularity traps

you signed up for wrestling,
the most demanding sport
the school had to offer

and night after wintery night
you and a few other sturdy boys
worked out on an old stage, head to head,
testing your strength and your pluck

during your freshmen year
you were named  captain of the football team
and class president as well

after that I lost track of you until later
when I heard that you had left school
to get married and become a father

***************************************
I only knew you for one quick year
when you were just becoming a young man
so I have no way of really knowing
how your story plays out

but I admired how you worked
your way through eighth grade

just as  I admired the determination
of the  Kentucky farm boy we read about
in the Jesse Stuart stories–    
  
   who shouldered a shitload of chores
   
walked a long path to school
   and performed beyond grade level

and I want to believe, and will believe,
that you went about your new life
in much the same way
      

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