All those awkward years

you didn’t realize you were training:


Miss Mary Mack, Mack, Mack

clapped fast, fast, faster

to the recess bell


Automatic hip-flick, palm-sting

like flat leather slap on hand pad

until your fists blur,

whip-sharp, hard


Not the school wall

but your partner’s gut

that catches a medicine ball

She heaves it back at you,

shoves air out of lungs


Pink plastic double-dutch,

little girl nonsense songs

drowned now by heavy metal

as you slice air

into rope bites

thin as ticks of stopwatch