Men to Boys

by Joseph Hardy

An old marine, my seventh-grade PE teacher, made us march on the playground in the Four
Winds; we, who wanted initiation, who knew only World War II in movies on black and white

I can still see his salt and pepper crew cut, his face, the swollen red of a committed drinker. Hear his bark at our mistakes.

But when we got it: the turning step that marched us apart, one column becoming four, striding out in faith of his cadence, then turning again, four columns becoming one in perfect step, he whooped and would have thrown his hat into the air if he’d had one.

Joseph Hardy, a reformed human resource consultant, lives with his wife in Nashville, Tennessee. His work has been published in: Appalachian Review, Cold Mountain Review, Inlandia, Plainsongs, and Poet Lore among others. He is the author of two books of poetry, “The Only Light Coming In” and “Becoming Sky,” through Bambaz Press Los Angeles, and a picture book, “At the Reading of the Will—And a Boy’s Life Thereafter,” IngramSpark.