The Feeling that Nobody Will Ever Like You

like in every other New England town

a plaque at any place a founding father once slept
the marble fountain running steady on the green

Where four girls rolled down the windows of a red Geo Metro and drove it at the fastest
speed I could walk –

a boulder rolling downhill

knocking over piles of firewood
and plastic three-wheelers
crushing it all underneath

Two blocks away
a scattering of tobacco barns
a boarding school
crowded with sons and daughters
of Middle Eastern Royalty


I once wrote a letter to Barry Bonds:
“Do you ever get the sense
that your head will never stop growing?
Do you remember that long
fly ball at the 2002 All-Star Game,

the one Torii Hunter stopped
from being a homerun?
It was the first beautiful thing I had ever seen

Do you ever get the feeling
that nobody will ever like you?”

Seven years later, standing alone at the front of a cafeteria hugging the
Autobiography of Theodore Roosevelt

as if in front of Mount Rushmore, I look up

waiting for the first
weekend in April
the first pitch

for Minnesota to drift East
and knock New England
off the map


Moving faster towards home

A boulder rolling downhill

They stuck their heads out of the open windows and made sure I knew what was wrong
with me

How do you learn what isn’t?

The sidewalk breaking in half
stones jumping up to hit my ankles

Fast, or
the places to hide


Sasha Debevec-McKenney was a National Foundation for Advancement in the Arts youngARTS finalist. Her poems have appeared in Lambda Literary’s Poetry Spotlight and Oregon Literary Review. In 2008, she was a featured reader at the Sunken Garden Poetry Festival Night of Fresh Voices.