Throw Like a Girl

I wore culottes… I could easily run when wearing them. They may have saved my life when I inadvertently approached a sacred mosque in Meshed, Iran, and was chased by a group of irate Muslims. I looked like a girl (and so I was chased), but I ran like a boy (and so I escaped).
-Barbara Hammer

There are questions of biology and manstrength
that aren’t answered in congressional suit sleeves
or the way I practiced my pitches
tossing paper towels across the harvest gold kitchen.
I threw cans of soup like a girl
because I didn’t want to risk a dent
or shattered juice glass. Most kitchen throwing
is girl style and also in the backyard
where I didn’t follow through
it was like a girl. And my brother too
in the years before he enrolled in an undergraduate survey
of feminism, sometimes threw like a girl, and probably
still does on occasion when his ex-girlfriend calls
for counsel about how to leave her addict boyfriend again.

Barbara Hammer throws and runs like a boy when she needs to.
My Georgia peach of a teen crush learned you can run fastest
when you yank your skirt up and tucked under the waistband.
The best way to run like a girl is when you beat every boy
in the southern schoolyard. Undermines crying
and menstruating When you bleed like a girl
it is punctuated or exclaimed or hushed.

We dream for daughters and especially our sons
forty-five years after the fire marshal in Atlantic City
banned feminists from burning mascara spirals,
tools of foot bindery, panty girdles, and aqua net
on their flammable wooden boardwalk.

We dream throw like a girl a compliment,
an evaporation to unfurl fractures
and ignore the roundness of any pelvis.
Within our skeleton we hide signals of sex,
bones of the wrist hold secrets
ignore neurons scanty squeeze.

Previous