Fan Letter to Spiderman
~after Lucile Clifton
You were on TV last night, saving folks from falling
to their deaths when that giant lizard tossed cars
off the bridge. You must hate the way those villains
assume it’s your job to clean up the mess they leave behind.
The tabloids said you showed your face to the little boy
you rescued so he could see you were just like him—
human and scared—but his father said he’s too young
to know what really happened.
You don’t want everyone to connect the man
to his good deeds or thank you for doing a job
none of us want to do. You want to be left
alone to carry the burden all by yourself.
I wear a mask too, but in the daytime to guard
against a world that wants to pound me into my place.
Your mask gives you a freedom I will never know
because underneath it, the spider’s bite has changed you.
At night, I lose all superpowers and go back
to being just a woman—black, bleeding red.
Can you teach me how to do what you do? Balance
your life on a thin thread, hanging upside down?
Pam Taylor is a Cave Canem Fellow. She holds an MFA in Writing from Vermont College of Fine Arts. She recently created a blog for poets with non-literary careers called, A Poet’s Double Life at http://www.poetsdoublelife.com/. Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in …and love: Poetry Anthology, The Best of the Fuquay-Varina Reading Series, 2012, Cartographer Literary Review, Mused: The BellaOnline Literary Review, and Revista Fórum Café.