“A Test” by Sean Griffin

On the blacktop playground, with chalk squares
for box ball where the reverberant hollow ball was
accompanied by jeers, a group of us stood by
the tree that broke through the concrete, the tar
and stone, where the pieces were frozen upward
as if the eruption had only just occurred, and a boy
who sucked on his shirt collar until it had holes said
we had to, we had to take the gay test, “you hold
out your arm and, and if your hand hangs, you know”
and he gestured, you know the gesture, so we all
held out our arms straight into the air, “no fists,”
and someone asked, “if you had to, would you
be on top or on the bottom” and top seemed to be
the correct answer by ad populum, “cause you can
close your eyes and pretend it’s a girl,” and maybe,
maybe, which we all know means “no”, it wasn’t
a bad thing that I thought “bottom” while these
other boys made sure to hold their arms rigid,
the veins bulging, and our arms shook until
someone said it was enough, and we leaned
into the concave silver netting of the chain-link
thankful that we all passed.

—–

Sean Griffin received his MFA in Creative Writing from Manhattanville College. His fiction has appeared in The Southampton Review, his poetry in Impossible Archetype, Cathexis Northwest Press, The Offbeat and his creative non-fiction in Foliate Oak. He teaches at Concordia College of New York, is an editor for Inkwell Literary Journal, and lives in New York with his three dogs.