Dorianne Laux

Superman sits on a tall building
smoking pot, holding the white plumes in,
palliative for the cancerous green glow
spreading its tentacles beneath his
blue uniform, his paraffin skin.
The pot also calms him so he can look
down through the leafy crowns of the Trees
of Heaven to patches of black asphalt
where a small dog chained to a grate
raises his leg against a sapling.
It's 2010 and the doctors have given him
another year in Metropolis. Another year
in paradise when he's high, another year
in hell when he's not.
A magazine falls from his lap. Lois
on the cover of Fortune, the planets
aligned behind her, starlight glancing off
her steely upswept hair.
He lifts his head from his hands
as the sun sets, the sound of muffled gunfire
in every city of the world ricochets
through his gray brain. He'll take care of it
tomorrow, the thankless, endless task
of catching dirty bombs and bullets,
though like the dishes piling up in the sink
there are always more.
365 dark days left to try to gather them all,
tunnel through to the earth's core
and bury them there. But for now he leans
his wide back against the stove-hot bricks
and stretches each long blue leg.
Blissfully stoned he doesn't notice
when his heel clips the chipped wing
of a granite angel, can't feel the Kryptonite
bending its rays up toward his scarlet heart.

From the book of men