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.

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