Inside the chicken wire fence
you and I would practice.
I hated practice,
but I loved you.
we stood there
avoiding dog poop,
and I never told you I was always scared:
Afraid of a crack to my impossibly vulnerable cheek,
It didn’t matter that the ball was called a softball.
Because I knew,
if it hit me,
it would hurt.
I always assumed,
even when I was nine,
that I was fulfilling something for you.
A dream that I decided
all men who
only have girls
I wanted to be something for you,
because you were everything to me.
I stood there,
digging heels into the dry earth,
holding all your pointers in my mind
like stars stuck to a screen of night.
But when I focused on one
it turned dark.
“If I was your boy,”
“I wouldn’t be afraid.”
So I slapped my fist against the heel of my leather hand,
and when you called to me,
from way over by the trampoline,
like a real ball player.
Like someone worthy.