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Passing Notes


ISSUE:  Spring 2002

While Miss Capp, older than the Constitution,
droned of checks and balances, I dutifully
filled my notebook (college-lined), and prayed
for a gum wrapper to arrive with “Hi!” inside,
or “Whatcha doin?” or “Civics is SO BORING!”
written with fuchsia ink in a curvy hand.

I ached to sit in back with the bad kids, holding
a matchbook on which my girl and I (impossible
ideal) had scratched a dialogue of love:
“That’s not a chin she’s got; that’s a wattle.”
“I’m going to the mall after class. Want to come?”
Literacy would, at last, be more than just a way

to smother time while hormones spurted uselessly.
How could I know that, within the year,
Mr. Wadsworth’s orange-haired hand would snatch,
like a tiger swallowtail out of the air, a note
from Kimberly Turner to me—that he would state,
“We must all hear this important communiqué,”

then read aloud, “I can’t wait till we can be alone!!!
I love you, Beanie. XXX” How could I know
that, as our teacher’s lips defiled the lines,

Eros would change Kimmie and me to demi-gods
soaring high above Texas History and Geography,
our faces, side by side, out-shining the sun.

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