Super Heroes and Speed


Jason Hardung

Originally published in The Evergreen Review Issue 120 in October, 2009.

She woke me from my Truck Darling dreams-
I was nerve gas flying low to the ground
and Truck was a super hero ejaculating
over mid-town Manhattan.
My ex was hovering there above my bed.
Truck was still flying in my dreams.

With a swollen face,
abscessed teeth, skin the texture of cigarettes and speed
she said the cops took her kids away again,
she isn't allowed to see them
until she stops chasing the dragon
and how they are the most important things in the world-
as if they are things and not living breathing
beings that wear clothes, eat crackers and have feelings.

“If they are so important”, I asked, “then why
did you let it get so bad?”
She began to cry.
“Didn't the mother in you say it was wrong?”
I thought that to myself,
I didn't want to make it worse.

Her skin had been picked
in a fit of amphetamine inadequacy
like Hitchcock's crows mistook her cheeks
for an antelope carcass.
Her brilliant complexion
now cirrhosis yellow.

I wanted to save her like Truck saved me
but all she wanted was a glass of water.
I left her alone in my room for less than a minute
while I found a clean cup.
I brought it to her,
she took a drink and said she had to leave
cried some more between breaths
and walked out the door.

I pulled on my pants
and headed to work,
stopped at the 7-11 to buy cigarettes,
opened my wallet to pay
and my money was gone.

Driving slowly by drug houses
looking for her car
and I wondered-

where are all the super
heroes when you really need them?