Groundwork in Persistence

Groundwork in Persistence
Gina Giardina

She never really fit in anywhere
back in school with all the swarms.
Sure, she tried and was usually the sixth off the bench—
though she was at every practice, every game
to fill in the gaps—being the best substitution
and proud of mere contribution.

That piece of notebook paper, worn out in places
as she sat at her kitchen table trying to figure out
how to word her feelings about patriotism
for that poetry contest at Fairbrook Elementary School—
her father’s BDUs hanging down the hall.

Hours in her driveway,
the bounce bounce—bounce-clank!
as she tried to mimic Maravich—listening
over and over to Survivor’s “Eye of the Tiger”—proudly
wearing her name on her back—
for the college scouts, of course.

And her love for music—piano lessons, band practice.
She still rolls on the outsides of her feet when she walks
thanks to Mr. Stall at Ankeney Jr. High. Music
somehow seemed to tie everything together,
although she didn’t realize it then.

She really never fit in anywhere,
even now when society medias us into choosing sides,
wear this, want that …
right—left. Aren’t you a believer?

And yet, she can still hear that cadence.
She still wears her name proudly.
Backspace and delete have saved many erasers
and crumpled-up frustrations.

And nearly twenty years later, she can still shoot
a beautiful jump shot—maybe even
an occasional swish from behind the arc
at the local community park.

about the author
Gina Marie Giardina is an English graduate student at Wright State University, with a focus in Composition and Rhetoric. A Technical Writer at Wright Patterson Air Force Base, she has been employed by the base for eighteen years. Gina has had two essays published in WSU’s Fogdog Review and various poems published in Stepping Stones Magazine and previous editions of Mock Turtle. Her recent awards include WSU’s 2011 Library Research Award as well as WSU’s 2012 English Department Poetry Contest and 3rd place in the 2011 Dayton Metro Library Poetry Contest. She would like to thank her dad (Sam A. Giardina), Dr. Annette Oxindine, Dr. Barry Milligan, Dr. Adrienne Cassel, and Dr. Kelly Zaytoun for all of their encouragement and support.