Alec Solomita has published fiction in Heart of Flesh, Southword Journal, The Mississippi Review, and Southwest Review, among other publications. He was shortlisted by the Bridport Prize and Southword Journal, and named a finalist by the Noctua Review. His poetry has appeared in Poetica, Algebra of Owls, The Galway Review, The Lake, Mocking Heart Review, and elsewhere. His poetry chapbook, ‘Do Not Forsake Me,’ was published by Finishing Line Press in 2017. He lives in Somerville, Massachusetts, USA.
I put a toe in the grave
to test the temperature.
I heard some small splashes
and a faint call,
“The water’s fine!”
The voice was familiar.
Was it my father? Or maybe an uncle.
Those boys always sounded the same.
The white wicker hamper in the bathroom,
Mom’s thick brown nipples feeding the world,
Dad’s chilled coat and scarf as the sun came
down, the envelope with the money
on the kitchen shelf for the next birth’s cab
to the hospital, the iron’s hot, damp smell.
The cap gun at wooden-floored soda-fountained
Woolworth’s, stocked with worthless treasures.
Five dollars for the cap gun. Five dollars in the
envelope. Never too clever at arithmetic,
this was something even I could measure.
I was discovered the very same day and Mom
sent me back in shame for my first refund,
though not my last shame. At least I caught her
eye that afternoon, and at least I got two or three caps
off, charging the sunroom with the odor of gunpowder
and a thin string of smoke. Nice to think about
during the long wait for Dad to get home.