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