Because every athlete I knew rejoiced

in shirtless afternoons, erect

over the mowed football fields. Sunday

held bonfires in their honor, the town

painting names on feed store windows. Always

virgin daughters offered up at the riverfront

altar. Inside me was a boulder

sharp as their abdomens, these jocks'

collarbones trying to break free at the shoulders,

flush with the jubilant universe. And me

who'd have fallen to my knees

only to dig for vertebra.

Aaron Deutsch received his MFA with distinction from Texas State University. His work appears in Foliate Oak Literary Journal, Willows Wept Review and has work forthcoming in the anthology "Thirty Poems for the Tricentennial: A Poetic Legacy." He splits his time teaching English for Academic Purposes to the US’s many strategic partners and allies at the Defense Language Institute-English Language Center and teaching poetry workshops in his new home in San Antonio, TX.