nothing beat shoving a girl.
My father said they should paint flames on my cleats
when I chased down a breakaway,
took an angle and hipped her off the ball,
when my body rushed her out to sea.
One whistle shriek and we’d all fall to our knees.
I could turn girls with an elbow
or a shoulder dug down.
I could knock them into grass.
I could keep on running.
I could be strong and sure as tide,
like my first boyfriend when he unbuckled
my seatbelt to seam my jeans with his fingertips.
In spring, I played with boys and cracked
shin to shin, raised knuckles from smooth
bone beneath shin guard’s sticky imprint.
My little finger jutted from my hand’s side,
my ankles swelled and purpled
like storm clouds, my body unpuzzled
by theirs bursting against me.
Published in Cider Press Review, Volume 18, Issue 2.
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