Kelly Birinyi
Hit Me with Your Best Shot

"Yeah, you're a real tough cookie with a long
history..." - Pat Benatar

I don't think we knew the song
could be this anthem; it just
sounded sassy and we danced to it

the whole summer our mothers kicked us
out in grandma's yard and fought
inside about better clothes,

better jobs, instead of with us.
Behind the withered shed, we moved
our chubby hips in a slow-motion

groove, made guns
with our fingers - not
aiming yet - and sang

"fire away" with all our play-
taunting, knowing that what was
real was inside our grandma's mint-

green house, waiting to take us
home: we tiptoed, but still
got knocked into walls we didn't

wash clean enough, dragged
to our mistakes by our hair. Where
even our favorite song couldn't

distract us - not during
those times, and sometimes not
after, when we were too sore to dance.