Because growing up has its quirks,
the boy’s body breaks into blossoms
he must manage or be sent to reform school.
Becoming a man is a slope of substance.

Boys find out there are circle-jerks.
How embarrassing to look back and recall
the sloppy kisses which come way too late
to fool the girls who seem to grow up quicker
and with more confidence.

He loved the drugstores if they had soda-jerks.
It is all foreseen in the glands: consider the possum,
North America’s only native marsupial,
gentle, free of rabies, eats acres of fleas and ticks,
Inhibiting the spread of Lyme disease.

Today, the boy, grown, admires female Walmart and Food Lion clerks
and feels that women could run the world instinctively with less politics
than current stalemates and talks of gang rapes, smears, and misrule.
How alluring to try to sing of gender, gentleness, and justice.