Alec Solomita’s fiction has appeared in the Southwest Review, The Mississippi Review, Southword Journal, and The Drum (audio), among other publications. He was shortlisted by the Bridport Prize and Southword Journal. His poetry has appeared in The Ekphrastic Review, Gnashing Teeth Publishing, The Galway Review, Bold + Italic, MockingHeart Review, The Blue Nib, Red Dirt Forum, and elsewhere. He was longlisted for the erbacce-prize 2020. His chapbook, “Do Not Forsake Me,” was published in 2017 and is still available on Amazon. He lives in Massachusetts, USA.
It took me 55 years to realize Miss Kelly and Mrs. Petinelli rhyme.
My homeroom teachers, seventh grade. Homeroom was a little
like a home. It’s where you went first thing in the morning,
and sometimes between classes. Miss Kelly was not kind; she
told Jimmy Flynn he looked like a sissy with his long red hair.
There was a rumor that he answered, “You look like a halfback.”
But it was 1963 and I can’t imagine he wouldn’t have been
expelled for the comment. Or at least suspended. He actually
was suspended at one point for the length of his hair. Not,
thank goodness by his hair. It wasn’t 1363, thank Christ.
I loved this popular boy and still think about him. Looked
him up on Facebook, a widower, lawyer, dog owner.
Miss Kelly in fact was a true rectangle with high, thick
shoulders. She was short. She looked like a halfback.
Mrs. Petinelli was kinder so I hardly remember her.
She had black hair and moved fast for a middle-aged woman.
The two of them taught home economics, which of course
at that time only girls attended. Jimmy was a gentle soul
who could be sharp and cutting, but only rarely. Maybe
he did say that to Miss Kelly. I could message him
on Facebook and ask him. But I would never do such a thing.
The past is past and not only does it not repeat itself,
it doesn’t even rhyme, not like Kelly and Petinelli.
Johnny Mahoney’s mother
complained when he came
home with welts on his
palms. Ah the sisters
of Mercy, departed and gone,
hollow be their names,
those beaded black and white
bridges between abuse at home
and misery at work.
In all my dreams I’m young again,
pale green as the underside of the leaves
in my climbing tree in the backyard
and as trembly.