Windward Review

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Volume 18, 2021

Chris Ellery

Spit

It was the year of love. It was the year of dreams.

It was the year of water cannons and Wallace for President.

It was the year when Clyde and I

were the only boys in Journalism class.

The girls assigned us two to roam the school

in search of scoops. Most days we’d end up at

the Field House vending machines to split

a Coke or Nehi and laugh in the luck of our fantasies:

all those girls in our class, all to ourselves, all wanting us.

As we passed our bottle back and forth,

we named the ones we wished to kiss

until the final bell dismissed

all our delusions of sexual bliss.

One day one of us suddenly said, “Talk like this

could get us both lynched.” All at once his blackness

opened up and let me in, his unfinished history,

red with terror and with pain my skin

could never reckon or comprehend.

That news was a kind of anointing.

When we passed our chalice of purple soda

from his hand to mine, from my hand to his,

our hands agreed to some unspoken covenant.

Neither of us wiped the spit.

Civility + You

27

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