Joe Mills: Factory Kids (Poetry)

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Coach grabbed my face guard,
yanked me towards him
like I was a dog or a horse,
yelled, Goddamnit, I want you
to fucking make him hurt.
Do you understand me?
I did. We all did. 

We knew even then, as boys
being taught, we thought,
how to be men,
what it meant to hurt
and how much worse it was
to be made to hurt.

Joseph Mills teaches at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts. He has published four collections of poetry with Press 53. His fifth, "This Miraculous Turning," will appear in September. More about his work can be found