Robin Becker

Because there’s a word, there’s a way to wonder

if any of our group shagging baseballs

all spring might not have been a girl at all

but a hybrid cultivar.  Micki and Jackie

resembled twin ponies, palomino

manes like vanilla frosting.  Ruddy Turnstones,

Sal and Les tumbled through the neighborhood,

grandstanding for screams.  We all wanted to be

boys then, to serve the Power whom we knew

found delight in our swinging from trees.

We wanted to serve the one god of joy

in the body and wreck ourselves at the altar

of summer nights on the city stoop, our shaped parts

sprouting overnight as we slept, changelings.

Sometimes I chose the hard singularity

of the young liege, honor-bound even in defeat.

To the armor and scabbard I cleaved,

make-believe punishments a drubbing I took

to prove my manliness, my worthiness.

Sometimes I starred in my own

Midsummer Count and reamed myself

a handsome specimen in bright plumage,

recognizable on the wing, most numerous

in early June when my kind crossed natural barriers.

Found In Volume 33, No. 02
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Robin Becker
About the Author

Robin Becker is the author of five collections of poems including The Horse Fair (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2000) and the chapbook Venetian Blue (Frick Art & Historical Center, Pittsburgh, 2002).  Professor of English and Women’s Studies at Penn State University, she serves as Poetry Editor of The Women’s Review of Books.