Gary Jackson

Missing You, Metropolis

It makes me think about Clark and how he’d handle
the situation. Not just the bending steel and flying
out. Clark could smile. That Boy Scout thing…but
the boy doesn’t have Clark. He has me.

– Batman from Batman #608
Tellers held by gunpoint hurry to open vaults
and registers. I’m face down on the cement floor,
checking my watch. By now Superman would be here
in a flash of blue and red and these thugs
wouldn’t know what hit them. Instead the lobby
erupts in smoke and everyone covers their mouths
as Batman descends from above in black and gray
and a lemon yellow belt. And when he lands,
instead of a whirlwind of colors, he moves like tar.
I’m surprised he hasn’t retired. But they can’t seem
to dodge his hands, and their bullets always miss.
The smoke clears as he scans the room
full of tellers and bankers cowering on the floor.
What I wouldn’t give for Superman’s
ungloved hand to help me up, before flashing
a wink or smile to reassure me everything will be
alright. But Batman is grimace set in stone;
he tackles the ringleader – this hulking tree-stump
of a bastard. They collide like two boxers.
There is no heat vision melting though steel, no lift
of bodies into the stratosphere until they are only
specks set against clouds, no explosion of light
that heralds victory. There are only the wet sounds
of blood-soaked fists pounding flesh,
the image of black boots bludgeoning skin,
the onyx gleam of bat-shaped knives
as they puncture veins, giving blood to fantasy.

Gary Jackson
“Missing You, Metropolis” is from Missing You, Metropolis (Graywolf Press, 2010).