Published on Academy of American Poets (https://poets.org)


Remember the Boys

chucking rocks at the wasps’ nest,
their gathered hum then sudden sting
at the nape of my neck. Oh, how I paid—
still pay—for the recklessness
of boys. Little Bretts. Little Jeffs.
Little knives to my breast. 
How lucky they were to never 
be held down, to never see
their voices crawl the air like fire!

How desperately I yearned to be them,
to storm the halls in macho gospel:
matching blue jackets, blood-filled
posture and made-you-flinch. 
How different would I be, 
how much bigger, if I had been
given room enough to be 
a country's golden terror? 

Credit


Copyright © 2020 by Rachel McKibbens. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on January 23, 2020, by the Academy of American Poets.

About this Poem


“I wrote this poem a few months after Dr. Christine Blasey Ford’s stunning testimony about Brett Kavanaugh. Her story affected me deeply, and Kavanaugh’s response to it reminded me of an incident in high school involving a star football player I confronted on behalf of a young woman he had harmed. So much of my youth was wasted on wishing I’d been born a boy. I believed, for too long, that femininity was synonymous with victimhood. I’m grateful to have evolved from that mindset.”
Rachel McKibbens

Author


Rachel McKibbens

Rachel McKibbens was born in Anaheim, California. She is the author of blud (Copper Canyon Press, 2017), Into the Dark & Emptying Field (Small Doggies Press, 2013) and Pink Elephant (Cypher Books, 2009). McKibbens is a two-time New York Foundation for the Arts poetry fellow and the 2009 Women of the World Poetry Slam champion. She co-curates the monthly reading series Poetry & Pie Night with poet Jacob Rakovan in upstate New York, and is the founder of The Pink Door Writing Retreat, an annual event open exclusively to women, femme, trans, gender-variant, and non-binary writers of color. She lives in Rochester, New York.

Date Published: 2020-01-23

Source URL: https://poets.org/poem/remember-boys