Physical Education

Jayy Dodd

He understood this as the shadow of handball courts,               on    the    far    side    of    the

playground. Before the arid baseball field,        beyond  fading  foursquare  &  eroding  jump

rope,  the  towering  graffiti  walls  where  the  older  boys  toy  with  slurs  called  becoming

men.  The  courts  cracked  –  chipped  fragments  of  paint  &  wood,  dusting  his  head.  He

understands       thrusting as passion,               the hand over him mouth as tender,       the

forearm  to  his  neck  as  folly. Asphyxiation climbs him like jungle gym. His limbs ricochet

against high walls with hallow-knocks. Resistance slides out of him, believing

            this is how boys like me play.            He   will   learn   to   not   cry   in   the   echo   of

middle school laughter. He will know bruised throat, swollen wrist as rough housing. He

will make home of his own skin,                   sweating & messy             under an afternoon of

torn shorts.