One girl leans back against the wall, top row
on the bleachers. Music ricochets off each still
and moving surface. To speak is to shout. Bare
need bear hugs this girl, bowed head to slumped
shoulders. I regret my age. I long for braces
on my teeth and pimples on my face,
budding hips and breasts. I’d like to take
these bleachers two at a time, play-punch
her arm and relay gossip that the other
kids could overhear. I picture us
laughing at the girls we’d like to know,
but can’t. We swing and sway and do
the chicken dance, then concoct a plot to get
my mom to take us out for pizza after. We send
our secrets spinning around this sweaty gym.
From A Poetry Break (Ocean Publishing, 2004).
Used here with the author’s permission.