Eleanor Levine

High School

the loudspeaker featured melancholy voices
(except when the valedictorian shrieked—
that was the only time the drug dealers
and steroid-induced football players petitioned that
Adam Sandler recite the Pledge of Allegiance)

a teacher who drew fluids from dead cats
found Rice Krispies while dissecting them
this was not the prestigious physics course
where dry minds studied mechanics and light

one boy smelled like Newark
made passes at students who forced his neck
through the film projector booth

Genghis Khan taught algebra
believed that x-y was holier
than the birth of Christ
discussed politics between equations
preferred Ford to Carter
you could never argue D wasn’t
your destiny between fractions

a “friend” put a rubber on the lunch table
I picked it up while the entire cafeteria howled
in unmitigated hysterics

during Chemistry class
a jock put sulfuric acid down the Levis
of a 300-pound man-boy with acne craters deep
enough for the astronauts

in the library
lesbian-nuns studied Thomas Aquinas
while pimpled ex-seniors flirted with cheerleaders
because they had not done so in the 1950s

I got a C in sewing class
put the needle through my finger
might have stuck it through tits
if they had played Rachmaninoff

a boy hissed during readings of the Iliad
I wept the death of poets
who could not compete with Howard Stern

ghosts who travel along the lake used to ride cars
now walk through the dermatologist’s office
with little boys who resemble them

Eleanor Levine’s work has appeared in Artichoke Haircut, Fiction, The Evergreen Review, Midway Journal, Pank, Hobart, Connotations Press, The Coachella Review, Milk Magazine, BLAZEvox, Atticus Review, The Denver Quarterly, The Toronto Quarterly, Monkeybicycle, Lunch Ticket Magazine, Prime Mincer, Happy, Gertrude and Thrice Fiction; she has work forthcoming in Hot Street. Eleanor is currently a copy editor and lives in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

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