Sixth Grade

Under a warm June sun during the break
between Social Studies and Language Arts,

they married us off. Our eleven-year-old bodies
surrounded on the cracked pavement of our schoolyard

by friends, classmates, then by something larger,
sovereign and invisible.

Bruce in wide jeans, a pink Oxford button-down,
and brown tie-ups so shiny you could see birds

in the patches of sky they reflected. Everything
about him beautiful. Me, in a short purple dress

and soda-orange sneakers that the older sister
of my best friend told me:
had to go.

A boy named Peter officiated, spoke the words
that blended us together into someone’s version of

correctness. The same boy who told me there were
only two types of women: that I was the kind men

married, not the kind men used for practicing
(what they never wanted to perfect). Even in the

race-sore seventies on Chicago’s South Side
no one minded this one rupture, this one tear

in the taut dictates of order: that he was black
and I was white. But they wouldn’t tolerate

our queerness that, somehow, they sensed.
The clang of missed baskets—

other kids shooting hoops—was our music.
That, and the cursing that always followed.
their two very retired greyhounds. Her poetry has appeared in the Journal of
Feminist Studies in Religion, Bridges: A Jewish Feminist Journal, Poems & Plays,
Georgetown Review, St. Sebastian Review,
and Southern Women’s Review, as well as in the
Milk and Honey: A Celebration of Jewish Lesbian Poetry.