Female Comic Book Superheroes
are always fighting evil in a thong,
pulsing techno soundtrack in the background
as their tiny ankles thwack
against the bulk of male thugs,
They have names like Buffy, Elektra, or Storm
but excel in code decryption, Egyptology, and pyrotechnics.
They pout when tortured, but always escape just in time,
still impeccable in lip gloss and pointy-toed boots,
to rescue male partners, love interests, or fathers.
Impossible chests burst out of tight leather jackets,
from which they extract the hidden scroll, antidote, or dagger,
tousled hair covering one eye.
They return to their day jobs as forensic pathologists,
wearing their hair up and donning dainty glasses.
Of all the goddesses, these pneumatic heroines most
resemble Artemis, with her miniskirts and crossbow,
or Freya, with her giant gray cats.
Each has seen this apocalypse before.
See her perfect three-point landing on top of that chariot,
riding the silver moon into the horizon,
city crumbling around her heels.
“Female Comic Book Superheroes” was published in the book Becoming the Villainess from Steel Toe Books. It apeared on The Writer’s Almanac with Garrison Keillor.
Jeannine Hall Gailey’s first book of poetry, Becoming the Villainess, was published by Steel Toe Books. Poems from the book were featured on The Writer’s Almanac and Verse Daily; two were included in 2007’s The Year’s Best Fantasy and Horror. Her work has appeared in The Iowa Review, Ninth Letter, and Rattle. She lives in San Diego, where she volunteers with Crab Creek Review and teaches at National University’s MFA program. You can learn more at her web site, www.webbish6.com <http://www.webbish6.com/> .