“Plastic bat and ball, you were with me when I learned
life’s meanest lesson. That to be a girl and smaller
is always worse. In the park, I’d play with whoever wanted.
Andy and his family or anyone there on picnic.
Under the pavilion where I learned to read bad words
on the rafters, two boys took you away—plastic bat
and ball. Big, hulking boys. Larger than my father
who could hit the ball out of the yard whenever
he wanted. The sandy-haired one held the bat up
to my face and said, ‘There’s a part of a man like this,’
He thrust the bat closer. My face flinched at the cold coming off
of it. He said, ‘It gets hard like this.’ Shook the bat closer.
‘Someday, you will want it up inside you.’ The other boy
laughed. Then one of them, I don’t remember, unzipped
and peed a puddle under the picnic table. Swished
the business end of the bat in it, rolled my ball through,
then told me to go home. I knew then, boys like this,
they were the kings. This was their world.
And I was only visiting.”
– Shaindel Beers, “Ode to Plastic Bat and Ball”