“Batman at the Wheel” by Mary Alexandra Agner

Evading Alfred is the worst.
Efficient, prescient, and ever-present,
he’s much too much inside my skin.
I manufacture crises weekly
to commit my art
in one bright space forever barred
to him and all the other bats
by gadgets so twenty-second century
they hide my secret without biffs or splats.

With clay between my hands,
I am content with mystery.
Someday I’ll analyze it, map
the glaze to chemicals and bonds
but right now I’m a free radical
energized by loneliness and potters’ shards.
The masked man doesn’t think
of kilns or urns or noodle bowls,
washes or copper coats, the treadle-sore knee
when I leave this room. Expectations change
me into kevlar, shadowed colors, logic,
a hunter whose audience won’t admit
to catch your prey you must first nurture it.


Mary Alexandra Agner writes of dead women, telescopes, and secrets. Her poetry, science nonfiction, and stories have appeared in The Cascadia Subduction Zone, TED Ideas, and The Unlikely Journal of Cryptography, respectively. She can be found online at www.pantoum.org.
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