wonder woman

Ada Limón
Content Warnings
AbleismSubstance Use
"Standing at the swell of the muddy Mississippi..."
Dec 24, 2020 9:48 PM

Standing at the swell of the muddy Mississippi

after the Urgent Care doctor had just said, “Well,

sometimes shit happens,” I fell good and hard

for New Orleans all over again. Pain pills swirling

in the purse along with a spell for later. It’s taken

a while for me to admit, I am in a raging battle

with my body, a spinal column thirty-five degrees

bent, vertigo that comes and goes like a DC Comics

villain nobody can kill. Invisible pain is both

a blessing and a curse. “You always look so happy,”

said a stranger once as I shifted to my good side

grinning. But that day, alone on the riverbank,

brass blaring from the Steamboat Natchez,

out of the corner of my eye, a girl, maybe half my age,

is dressed, for no apparent reason, as Wonder Woman.

She struts by in all her strength and glory, invincible,

eternal, and when I stand to clap (because who wouldn’t),

she bows and poses like she knew I needed the myth,

—a woman, by a river, indestructible

ADA LIMÓN is the author of five books of poetry, including Bright Dead Things, which was named a finalist for the National Book Award, the Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award, and the National Book Critics Circle Award. Her new collection, The Carrying, was released by Milkweed Editions in August of 2018 and was named one of the top 5 poetry books of the year by the Washington Post.