by William Carey
A cape is hinted only by the wide nappy taped under his chin.
Dad's so Clark Kent, in unassuming khakis and grey Velcro tennies.
No one suspects his powers.
He sees X-rays to hearts of matters, childlike—Superboy at six.
He speaks a fractured patois straight out of Krypton.
He's compassionate and sensitive beyond human scope
in empowering dementia. He's all hope,
other-worldly positive and cheery in challenging
Obstacle (ordinary stair) or Villain (errant caregiver).
His flights shoot above mortal clouds like bullets,
Chicago to Pittsburgh to South Bend to Dublin,
wherever whimsy jets through his mind unfettered,
flitting through his life scenes at soundbarrier-breaking speed.
His prime power, though, is indestructibility.
He slip-slides for the umpteenth time from recliner to hard floor,
and flies from den without cane out back door,
searching for Jimmy or Lois or homier voices.
He careens off the stoop to crash-land on bush and stone wall.
Serene in paramedics' care and ER,
this fallen hero without fail survives danger upon danger,
magic armor shedding threats to old flesh
and impenetrable memory.
His handgrip, iron like Superman's resolve to save the planet,
belies the flaccid mental grasp.
We count on him to cure us of conceit and other frailties,
while he with no sense of failure, loss, or sin
is near to God, naïve, as any man ever has been.
First publishd: East on Central 2020