My superhero showed up dead drunk
on dilithium crystals,
which he had brushed against
while trying to fix the ship’s warp drive.
A likely story, I said, knowing
he had conflated myths, and seeing
the way his red and blue colored suit
had bled together to make him purple man.
He staggered to the couch and sprawled.
I got him a glass of water,
but he asked for something
with color and more strength.
It’s not so often a man like that
asks you to come to his rescue, let alone
at 11:49 at night, or slurs
that crisp Midwestern speech,
to say nothing of his perfect
but now flattened hair revealing
two cowlicks and a balding patch
at the back of his well-shaped head.
I was not only civil, I was gallant,
or as gallant as a girl should be
to the man of steel when he’s a molten mess
and weighing down one end of her couch,
muttering random slanders to the lamp.
Then he pleaded—so sad
to see him beg. I told him to swing
up his feet onto the other end—he thought
I would join him, but I just wanted
the couch to be balanced
under his weight. I knew as soon
as he was horizontal, he’d be snoring.
Later, when my hero woke, full
of apologies and vague come-ons,
he was sober. So much less
interesting. He pleaded ignorance
of dilithium and the effects
of galaxies far, far away, but of course
I saw right through him. His excuses
for not-so-noble behavior
had been foiled by the effects of drink
but even before that, I could tell
because my x-ray vision turned him
transparent as air. The only trouble now
is all heroes have an inner tarnish.
Though some girls might think
that’s actually a good gift,
faster than a speeding bullet
at sussing out love’s land mines.
Rachel Dacus grew up on fairytales and science fiction. She is the author of Gods of Water and Air, a collection of poetry, prose, and drama, and the poetry collections aEarth Lessons, Femme au Chapeau, and spoken word CD A God You Can Dance. Her writing has appeared in The Atlanta Review, Boulevard, Drunken Boat, and Prairie Schooner. She’s currently at work on a time travel novel involving the great Baroque sculptor, Gianlorenzo Bernini.
Artwork: Sharad Haksar, “Superhero”
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