Journalism in Verse – EST. 2016


in Photo Challenge/Sports by
bodies must fit
narrow categories
navigation circuitous
gates and mazes
shunt the majority
to be rejected
discarded as faulty
if any level is off
genetic differences
in the dance
between binaries


molecules secreted naturally
in the gonads of both sexes
but somehow labelled male
the decision not by doctors
but a sports organization
natural low lactic acid
as an evolutionary miracle
high testosterone production
as an “unfair advantage”


history repeats
black bodies
female bodies
divergent bodies
drown in definitions
created by and for
white men


Poet’s Note

“I reflected on the way bodies are policed and penalized, particularly if they’re female or non-white.”


Emily Jo Scalzo holds an MFA in fiction from Fresno State and is currently an assistant teaching professor at Ball State in Muncie, Indiana. Her first chapbook, The Politics of Division, was published in 2017 and awarded honorable mention in the Eric Hoffer Book Awards in 2018.


Olympic champion Caster Semenya loses landmark case on testosterone levels

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