by Alec Solomita

My father never taught me how to fight.
Pussy willows were his swift sword,
the hush of rain at evening,
“In the beginning was the Word.”

He spoke in the parables of Jesus.
The hidden talents, the widow’s mite,
the first shall be last and the last first.
That kept me thinking late into the night.

If the first shall be last and the last first,
I’ll try to be last, but if I try to be last
so I can be first, then I’m trying for first,
and if I try for first, I’ll end up last.

Without the company of Flash and
Aquaman, I might have lost my mind,
the inky panels posing kinder dilemmas:
Should I get the specs that let you see behind

or the ones that give you “X-RAY” vision?
But when I’d slept and woke at the first trace
of chilly light, I thought of Billy Hoyer’s
fat fists, dog smile, and mole-spattered face

looming, “You little pussy, you’re dead!
After school. Three o’clock!” all a bit overdone.
Yet his candor, I felt, required a plan.
And, yes, I confess I couldn’t fight,
but like the prodigal son, I could run.

AUTHOR’S PHOTO CAPTION: A bit after I escaped the scary school in the poem, I entered what was then known as a “hippie school.” I was happy there. This photo is at White’s Pond in Concord, Massachusetts, on an unauthorized field trip. Circa 1969. Photo by Peter Luft.

NOTE FORM THE AUTHOR: I started writing “Parables” as an affectionate poem about my father. But as so many times before, it turned out to be about (surprise!) me. It’s a true story, and actually describes an incident that, unfortunately, happened more than once in my early and mid-teens. The name has been changed to protect me.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Alec Solomita’s fiction has appeared in, among other publications, The Mississippi Review, Southwest Review, and Ireland’s Southword Journal. He’s published poetry in Literary Orphans, Silver Birch Press, Turk’s Head Review, MadHatLit, Algebra of Owls, Driftwood Press, The Fourth River, and elsewhere. He lives in Somerville, Massachusetts.