The Batman by Jimmy Long
Stained glass distorted morning
light to red and purple, pewter-rimmed
images of Christ behind my shoulder
those high school Sundays.
Beside me, singing hymns and fresh
from the latest disaster, my dad,
in plain clothes. When tragedy struck,
he beat it like Bruce Wayne
from a charity ball to places like Sago
when the mine blew, comforting widows
while the New Year's touchdowns rolled,
lifting trembling elders into boats
in the eighty-five flood, visiting
our friend, Robert, in jail for drugs,
pleading mercy with the judge. Robert sent
me tapes — Christian rock, which I forgot
to listen to, but I remember scraping
spaghetti from plates that night while
my father untied his boots in the dark
living room alone, something more than
a hero, a vigilante I couldn't touch, and I knew
I could never hide from the eyes of God.
A native of Buckhannon, West Virginia, Jimmy Long earned an English degree from Marietta College in 1993. In recent years he has resumed an active writing life in Charleston where he works and lives with his family of five. Long’s work has appeared in Appalachian Heritage and Roanoke Review. In 2016 he won first prize in poetry for his submission to Mountain Ink Literary Journal.