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POETRY
Spider-Man
Sara Kuhns

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Spider-man trudges down the boulevard
without enthusiasm,
one hand gripping the extended handle of
his travel case on wheels,
stretch nylon mask bunched up in the other,
crushed like a stressball;
his hair spikes up like sticky weeds;
perspiration arcs across his suit,
in all the expected places.
Obviously, he’s not feeling heroic
this afternoon...

It’s been a long day competing
for tourists at Grauman’s Chinese Theater;
wedged between Charlie Chaplin
and Spongebob Squarepants –
the later in a costume shop outfit
Damn cheater, No Heart in
his design.

Then, two other Spideys arrived,
one in good guy red, the other in
angst-ridden black, same size they
posed like models...
he hadn’t stood
a chance.  Not with his suit
sweat saturated and glistening;
Spongebob Spideypants
A tourist said that...
Fucker.

So he left, a Spider-man Quitter
Searching for a slice of shade,
under the pounding sun
Rivulets streaming like tears
from his hairline as he studies
the skyline; buildings once grand
now glorified souvenir shops...
And he turns to scope out the traffic,
tourists jostle to pose
with stars set in cement
and by costumed nobodies
set on cement.
He catches his own eye
in a window, wonders where the
hope went, how he ever thought
a lycra-bound, side-walking spandex
clad, walk on and on and on role
would satisfy the boy that
arrived, future neatly packed in
the bag slung carelessly over
his shoulder...

But he has no
answer, not for that one.
So he trudges on, without enthusiasm,
one hand gripping the extended handle of
his travel case on wheels,
stretch nylon mask bunched up in the other,
crushed like a stressball in his fingers;
his hair spikes up like sticky weeds that
perhaps he’d tried to pull;
His Spider Suit is blotched with perspiration
that flowers from his armpits,
across his chest and
down his sides to meet in a vee
at the base of his spine.

It’s been one rough Spider Day.
One without the lilt of fantasy,
without humor he doesn’t
even wish he was a super hero
anymore.  He knows he already
settled for fair-to-middling hero,
perhaps even shitty hero –

he didn’t care,
not where the visitors were from,
not if they smiled, not even if they believed
that he played a double in an old movie...
he never meant to do this for years,
it was never meant to be
a career... 


Sara Kuhns is the author of the urban fantasy, A Sigh for Life's Completion (sequel in progress), and an occasional poet. She teaches high school in Los Angeles. When not writing, she binge-watches fantasy, crime, and sci-fi shows with her wife, and tends their four dogs, three cats, one bearded dragon, and koi and turtle pond. The rest of the time she drinks coffee and thinks about sleep.