From Lemon Hound, a poetry collection published by Coach House books in 2006.
The girls run from one end of the paved playground to the other. In chadors they chase smaller boys who kick a soccer ball back and forth yelling Can’t play. Can’t play. The girls run and hurl themselves, landing again and again in each other’s arms. The girls stop and yell Let me kick! The boys leap and leap into the air, legs cool in soccer shorts and Nikes. The girls in their long pants chase and are not distracted by hopscotch, not inclined toward chalk marks on pavement; they want the pleasure of skin in air, they want the satisfaction of forcing shapes against the sky. The boys kick against the fence where a small girl has cornered an even smaller girl and, one hand on her hip, the other poised to strike, scolds How many times do I have to tell you, girl? How many times do I have to say? How many times do I have to slap you silly? The smaller one slumped, face covered as the older one tongue-lashes and finally knees her in the face. The girls run past the yelling girl unfazed. The girls slam against the fence, fingers curled where moments ago sparrows perched to gulp crumbs from stale sandwiches. The girls stop and hang, undisturbed by the yelling. The girls look into each other’s eyes. The girls fling their heads back and laugh.