Superhero by Jaeyun Yoo

Poem name: Superhero  Poet name: Jaeyun Yoo  Poem begins: He wore his scarf like a cape  or a noose. It confused me to see him  kiss my mother’s pearl forehead  and pour her cesspools of morning coffee  so she stayed awake till 2:00 am, waiting.  She watched reruns of Days of our Lives  but actually listened for the hiss of the door  as he crawled in on all fours, barking     another woman’s name. Did my mother  sweep the floor to find a sapphire ring too  loose for her twig fingers, did she pull out the guts  of his silken suit pockets and diagnose hotel receipts  scrunched up like a tumour, did she yell aha, here is proof.  But it confused me when she still sighed oh darling  as he coached little league, mowed and gardened,  drove me to ballet lessons and beamed.     I swear, you never saw a better man—  not even in the superhero movies we liked.  He played over and over the clips of Lois Lane falling  and Clark Kent rescuing. One day you will marry  a nice young man, live happily ever after.  He imagined wearing a tuxedo, hair greased back,  releasing my hand as I swan dived towards my prince.  I imagined blowing kisses, feathered flotsam to my father  as I climbed into a pumpkin carriage, to ride into sunset     and pulverize. Twenty years later, it confuses me  when my man unravels his scarf and I see  a bruise on his neck, a rose petal he clamps.  Mosquito bite, he explains. I imagine rope burn.  But to kill him is to kill the old man who carries a steel  watering can, saves tree roots from blistering sun,  mayflies underfoot. They lift him an inch off the ground.  End of poem.  Credits: Copyright © Jaeyun Yoo  Previously published in Contemporary Verse 2 (2020).  Jaeyun Yoo is a Korean-Canadian poet and psychiatrist whose works have been published in The /tƐmz/ Review, Prairie Fire, Grain, Contemporary Verse 2, EVENT and Ricepaper. She is a student at The Writer’s Studio at SFU. She is a member of the poetry collective Harbour Centre 5, which will be publishing a collaborative chapbook, Brine, in 2022.  @jaeyunwrites on Twitter.