Never trust a humble hero,
a meek man recounting with a shrug
his part in overthrowing
a terroristic gunman in the mall
as if his blood hadn’t bloomed
into bouquets of ferocious roses
sprouting from the soles
of his cheeks and he never feared
hell fire. Once his daughter loses
her virginity too soon, or his wife
loses the keys and he’s late
for a job he’s afraid to lose,
or when he’s just afraid,
he’ll recline in his tattered plaid EZ Boy,
fist a warm beer and exclaim:
Is this what I get for being a hero?
And this hero might beat his wife
again, or cheat senior citizens
out of their fixed incomes somehow
because when a man denies being a hero,
he’s got a reason. I swear
if I get to feeling fat,
I’m going to rescue a baby’s
renegade stroller from traffic
then wait for the news to show up.
I’ll be meek, I’ll be humble
and say, I’m not a hero,
I just did what needed
to be done, just to be told,
that’s what a hero does.
Then when I swat the air
and ask, me? a hero?
with these hips?
there won’t be a single man
who will tell me no.
This woman needs to be held to hold.
I still crave the quivering steam cloak
that rises between close bodies,
still want to christen my lover
where sweat pools in my back’s dip,
still make enough heat for tongues
to twist dry in my open mouth,
to leave sprawling limbs
veining white sheets,
bare bough reaching.