Boys Catch Girls

by Ivan Amaya-Hobson

is what the kids
in first grade called the game
we played every day at recess.

It was like hide-and-seek
except the girls were always
the ones who had to hide,

and instead of being found
they were captured
led by their wrists

to the tetherball court
where they were kept
under the gaze of guards.

It was Judith, a Swede
who was three-gummy-bears
taller than any kid in our class,

who one day demanded
that we play
Girls Catch Boys instead.

I can still remember
how those boys
squinted their faces,

then shouted that Judith
wasn’t a real girl
because she didn’t want to hide.

And I can also remember

squinting my own face,
not because I was like them,

but because I wanted
the same game
that Judith wanted—

which by playground rules
made me something other
than a real boy.

Ivan Hobson is an MFA graduate from San Francisco State University. Along with teaching English at Diablo Valley College, he also works as a shipyard machinist on Mare Island. Ivan’s poems have appeared or are forthcoming in publications including the North American Review, Hunger Mountain, The Malahat Review, as well as Ted Kooser and The Poetry Foundation’s American Life in Poetry.