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Thursday, April 11, 2013


by Tricia Knoll

The raffle of an AR-15 assault rifle to raise money for the Saint Helens Girls Softball League will get a public airing at a community meeting Thursday. --Stuart Tomlinson, The Oregonian,  March 20, 2013

I pulled a red Radio Flyer wagon
full of Girl Scout cookies from door to door --
when doors opened with smiles
we assumed were safe.

Despite my wicked field hockey stick,
in high school my only role I could play in sports
was timing the breast stroke in boy’s swimming meets.
Then I bought bras with a label saying Title IX --

and yes, I bought a Barbie Doll or two
for my daughter -- and watched without dismay
when the cattle dog chewed off an arm and then a leg.
I’ve sold dozens of dozens of tulips to raise

money for a high school trip to Paraguay
and delivered those bouquets in a mail cart
to workers’ desks in an office tower
for a month. Flimsy wrapping paper --

we sold that too. Silk-screened t-shirts
for soccer. Chocolate bars for track.
Magazine subscriptions for volleyball. Florida
oranges by the crate, delivered to front doors.

Joannie Benoit won gold in the first
women’s Olympic marathon -- a big moment
for this plowhorse-style distance runner.
Young girls, find your road to fitness,
sweat, movement, teamwork,
combat if you want it.

But please don’t raffle rifles.

Tricia Knoll is a Portland, Oregon poet with a long, long love of sport and movement.