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Gunning For Manhood

Stephanie Spencer

Consider these boys,
the ones thick with scars
from sitting down and shutting up,
tearing down and manning up;
the ones who keep the hammer cocked.


Young girl on the bus sees these boys:

thick bodies smashing space,

grabbing brawn like starving dogs,

yowling aimlessly in the aisle,

sneaking fearful glances.




Wary girl on campus eyes these boys:

sure bodies brawling bravado,

parting crowds like prized princes,

catcalling crassly in hallways,

disguising desperate desires.




Teacher at her desk notices these boys:

sharp bodies cleaving feelings,
battering emotions like dangerous boxers,

waiting warily in shadows,

dismissing sorrow and grief.

Consider these boys,
the ones who run and punch and yell and rail

and kick and scrape and howl and break,

the ones who would rather pull a trigger

than hurt


Stephanie Spencer is a poet, wife, and mom of two in Vancouver, Washington. She taught middle & high school English for thirteen years before dedicating her days to writing and becoming a docent at Portland Art Museum. She also spends time helping in her former school's library, works as a personal assistant at comic conventions, and volunteers at the local public radio station & film festivals. Her favorite things in life besides husband & kids are reading, drinking Earl Grey tea, watching movies, and traveling.

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