Cheryl J. Fish
Abecedarian: Spit Three Times
After a compliment, after a friend or stranger remarked how
Beautiful, your grandchildren, my grandmother spit three times.
Concentrating on our foreheads, saying “poo, poo, poo.”
Delivering protection against that dreadful
Evil Eye. Emitting saliva prophylactically on
Fallible children. Ancient physicians, even Maimonides
Glorified the value of saliva and spittle.
How that evil eye originated or where it could lead, no matter.
It meant Grandma Becky found me worthy, pulled me close.
Justice would be served from the well-meaning
Kindness of others, no longer at risk from an ironic jinx.
Let us thank our grandmas and mothers whose
Miraculous spit flew for our health and safety.
No matter what they suffered and lost
Or wrought with labor and travail, we could
Press ahead into the unknown, glistening, wondrous.
Cheryl J. Fish’s debut novel OFF THE YOGA MAT, the story of three characters coming-of-middle age, was recently published by Livingston Press/UWA. She is the author of THE SAUNA IS FULL OF MAIDS, poems and photographs celebrating Finnish sauna culture, the natural world, and friendships, and CRATER & TOWER, poems reflecting on trauma and ecology after the Mount St. Helens Volcanic eruption and the terrorist attack of 9/11. Fish teaches at CUNY and has been a Fulbright professor.