When I went from underhand to over from the foul line,

no longer hoisting the ball like a sandbag, I was that much

more like a man, or like the man I would have liked to be

if I were not a girl; I still thought there was something

I could do about the movement of my body toward

the underhanded power of my mother. I was wrong about that.

I would never palm the orange globe or dunk it down

the throat of the net. Still, some brief mirages flared up.

Our coach told us one night we couldn’t leave the gym

until every last girl could do five lay-ups from her

weaker side. My left arm, at first, a useless piece

of spaghetti. That coach rode us hard, took us

seriously, and waited, patiently, for our point guard

to grow up. To this day, when I do one from the right,

I notice every pull of every tendon, every dribble

to release; but from the other side, it’s as if

I’m in a body cast I shatter for a second,

breaking free, and step back into when I hit the floor.

I think that cast is disbelief, or rather certainty

in gravity, biology, anything that might overpower me.



Photo By: Matt Folsom