Jan Bottiglieri is a freelance writer living in suburban Chicago. She is a managing editor for the literary annual RHINO and received her MFA in Poetry from Pacific University. Jan’s poems have appeared in Court Green, december, Willow Springs, and elsewhere. She is the author of the chapbook Where Gravity Pools the Sugar and the full-length poetry collection Alloy.
This morning when my husband came down for coffee he said, “Heard your famous friend foiled another big caper.” The way he said caper made me hate him a little. I sighed, “He’s not my friend. Jealous much?” Left him wondering if I meant, of Superman the guy, or of that day when I was seven, filled my pillowcase with dolls, and ran away from home. I stood bawling like a baby in the middle of some stupid street, horns blaring, when I was plucked from the Earth with a wallop that left my breath behind like a ghost of me. He had a moviestar voice saying People are looking for you, little lady and a neck like my cousin’s pony, Bucket. My face was right up on that neck, and its landscape held for me more fascination than the town spread below us flat as a fireman’s blanket. You may not believe this, but here’s a fact: I licked it. I licked Superman’s neck, and his skin made a tiny shiver, but I couldn’t tell if he felt it or not. He didn’t taste salty as I thought he would, and somehow I was surprised his skin didn’t lick right off in that spot to reveal some secret layer beneath. He said That one’s yours, right? and pointed to the house with a patrol car in front, and I nodded because the air was too cold to speak in, even though I had no idea what our house looked like from the sky and only guessed that speck was Jeannie in the yard. The last thing Superman said to me was So, what’s it like to have a twin sister? I was struck dumb wondering how someone with powers didn’t know that some stuff wasn’t like anything, it just was. Tonight, I foiled a chicken for our dinner. Now I pretend to sleep. Above my husband, the curtain billows its hollow waves, and in darkness I wait for that same yellow sun.