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.