Without a Telephone Booth


As she curled into the nook of his arm, he told her how he fantasized.
So many times when he was in line at the grocery store or bank,
when he watched some guy hassling the clerk, he found himself imagining:
this other man, this angry man would make a move, bolt for the door
clutching a carton of cigarettes or a cheap six pack,
but he would save the day.

With a quick response, an agile tackle, he told her as she snuggled in closer,
(she would look up wide-eyed sensing the importance of this secret)
he would make things right because he was a superhero, he told her.
But the thing was, he just couldn’t do it; Each time he was paralyzed
like Clark Kent without a telephone booth, with nowhere to go
but trapped to witness the here and now.


Back in the day, faster than a cab at closing time she felt like Lois Lane
when he carried her up the stairs of his Market Place apartment.
Mildly indignant but suitably slung over his shoulder,
her drunk arms waving as she said, I can’t believe you were going to marry
that other girl. With one finger he pushed his glasses up and said flatly,
If you don’t stop struggling I might drop you.


The nook, the safe harbor, the best corner puzzle-piece.
The koala that scurries up the tree and holds on.
He said Koala and she wiggled over,
snuggled into his outstretched arm.
He struggled when she turned,
this superhero in ruins who couldn’t decide
who should spoon or be spooned.


Her family was watching Superman II.
Each brother called out, shouted
they too would fight the good fight.
Less than eight years old, she spoke,
This part is my favorite.
An awkward silence.
The love scene that can only happen
after he gives up his powers.


In the inky blueness of flannel sheets.
No more suit.        No more cape.
       Koala, Koala.
He sighed when spooned.

by Angela Brommel

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Poetry at the Movies