|Jul/Aug 2019 Poetry Special Feature
Multimedia artwork by Belinda Subraman
Baseball with the Boys
Bussed to a new school in sixth grade
on the cusp of adolescence, girls self-
segregated to play hopscotch and jump rope.
The boys played team sports.
I made friends with Kelly, the same height
and build, taller than most of the boys,
we could have been twins, except
she had an older brother to my younger,
was practiced in talking to her brother's friends.
Come spring we crashed the boys' baseball
games, goaded them into letting us play
by accusing them of being scared we were better.
We might not have played better, but
we could keep up on that patch of grass
between the back of the school and the cornfield.
Three strikes and we were out, no breaks for girls,
they were harder on us. For every run we scored
the catcher punched us on the meat of our upper arm.
We dared not cry and risk certain banishment.
The girls who watched from the sidelines, refusing
to compete, clucked their disapproval when
we strutted into class whooping our elation
after hitting a ball deep to centerfield for
a home run in the corn stubble. They didn't
understand it was practice for the game ahead.