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.
More Poems about Relationships
Mommy always wanted
To be famous
She would have us (my sister and me)
In all the talent shows
But I could not carry the harmony
Then she had me
Though The Isley Brothers
Ronald’s sweet voice and Vernon
Doing “the Itch”
Sort of like Michael Jackson
my dead grandmother’s young
Japanese maple was uprooted stolen
last week scattered leaves crushed
under a stranger’s foot. to recover
More Poems about Social Commentaries
i love you to the moon &
not back, let’s not come back, let’s go by the speed of
queer zest & stay up
there & get ourselves a little
moon cottage (so pretty), then start a moon garden
with lots of moon veggies (so healthy), i mean
i was already moonlighting
Self-Portrait with Sylvia Plath’s Braid
Some women make a pilgrimage to visit it
in the Indiana library charged to keep it safe.
I didn’t drive to it; I dreamed it, the thick braid
roped over my hands, heavier than lead.
My own hair was long for years.
Then I became...