national anthology of the best undergraduate writing 2014

On the First Day (March 15, 1990)

Ben Alfaro  • 
University of Miami

Vinnie hit a double-double. Zeke knocked down 18.

Bill Laimbeer’s name sprawled across a news ticker.


The regional broadcast shored my mother homebound.

Her hand fanned around the garden of a once gravid belly,


the left, rocking a plastic bassinet in the backseat. Stilled

in gridlock of headlights snaking down suburban offramp.


The Boys were a coterie of jaw rattlers. Codified in cloak

of baseline brawn. Motley brawlers barking at Chicago wind.


My first hero was the knifing ridge of Rick Mahorn’s elbow

deep in paint, paddling lawless down scuffed hardtop.


The Palace, newly throned; before it became a jungle.

The radio dialed to a cool hum, just above a whisper.


Born to a lullaby bouncing between static breaks.

Her abdomen, writhing back into a single body.