An Undergraduate Literary Journal from UW-Milwaukee

Elementary

Poetry by Skylar Osbourne

In the sixth grade, Andy White told me
on the bus ride home that pussy tastes
like watermelon as he put his thick tongue
between two fingers and made a sound like a hand
clapping through the surface of a pond.
He told me it was sweet and I wanted
to slam his greasy face against the window
because of the way his mouth moved around
the words, and when he spoke
so miraculously about these things,
I didn’t understand.

He told me girls were easy. Like flowers,
but he had long blonde hair and couldn’t spell
simple words like: asphalt, auditorium, and cigarette.
At recess, he carried the football like a giant man
and bloodied our lips if we got in his way.
October afternoons we played hide
and go seek in his basement. We ate spaghetti
in the sunlit evenings with his family. We rode
our bicycles down a smooth dirt hill and into the cattails.

The day he was expelled from school,
I kept thinking about the way he grinned
and lied. The way his teeth
fell crooked when, and if, he was going to
smile like a slimy ghost who imagined the wild
and beautifully small black seeds stuck to his chin.
I wanted to know if he pulled his dirty hair
back, tight, behind his head.
I wanted to know if he was dreaming,
or if he cried inside some immaculate juvenile hall.