By Aimee Nezhukumatathil
When it comes to clothes, make
an allowance for the unexpected.
Be sure the spare in the trunk
of your station wagon with wood paneling
isn’t in need of repair. A simple jean jacket
says Hey, if you aren’t trying to smuggle
rare Incan coins through this peaceful
little town and kidnap the local orphan,
I can be one heck of a mellow kinda guy.
But no matter how angry a man gets, a smile
and a soft stroke on his bicep can work
wonders. I learned that male chests
also have nipples, warm and established—
green doesn’t always mean envy.
It’s the meadows full of clover
and chicory the Hulk seeks for rest, a return
to normal. And sometimes, a woman
gets to go with him, her tiny hands
correcting his rumpled hair, the cuts
in his hand. Green is the space between
water and sun, cover for a quiet man,
each rib shuttling drops of liquid light.
Aimee Nezhukumatathil, "What I Learned from the Incredible Hulk" from Miracle Fruit. Copyright © 2003 by Aimee Nezhukumatathil. Reprinted by permission of Tupelo Press.
Source: Miracle Fruit (Tupelo Press, 2003)
More By This Poet
On Listening to Your Teacher Take Attendance
Breathe deep even if it means you wrinkle
your nose from the fake-lemon antiseptic
of the mopped floors and wiped-down
doorknobs. The freshly soaped necks
and armpits. Your teacher means well,
even if he butchers your name like
he has a bloody sausage casing stuck
Give me a church
made entirely of salt.
Let the walls hiss
and smoke when
I return to shore.
I ask for the grace
of a new freckle
on my cheek, the lift
of blue and my mother’s
soapy skin to greet me.
Hide me in a room
with no windows.
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Though it does harden, a drying clay bust
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I mean—You are an...
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Anger is the other person inside
mi garganta, my throat.
More Poems about Social Commentaries
In Flanders Fields
In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
The Glories of Our Blood and State
The glories of our blood and state
Are shadows, not substantial things;
There is no armour against Fate;
Death lays his icy hand on kings:
Sceptre and Crown
Must tumble down,
And in the dust be equal...