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Fan Fiction

The Man Without Fear

by Jean Power (

The Man Without Fear (C) Jean Powers

I cropped my hair for him, took to walking late
at night, through the brackish summer heat of Hellís
Kitchen. Looks from strangers tell me I deserve
what I get, but I've never needed saving,

and though I tried to look helpless, sing, swinging
my handbag in a manner so beguiling
to ne'er-do-wells - I even wore red lipstick -
all I got were niceties, men who weren't him,

offering, not insisting, no bald bloated
crime boss with a glimmering gold tooth targets
me for his love slave, not even a garden-
variety criminal with a gold chain,

an oiled quiff, a knife and a sharpened eye for
my wallet, just stumbling sad drunks hopeful
for sympathy and change, the cop on the beat
who tells me to head on home, the old women

and men who want to tell me stories, talking
fox trot bourbon horseraces and better times.
I donít like to picture them young and daring,
like us. I'm afraid a face might have his blue eyes.

I watched for him all these years, flashes of red
in the black of crumbling rooftops, brighter
reds among the oranges of polluted
city sunsets, twin point shadows in the light

from white-lit windows, a sound in the alley
which might have been an alley cat, or nothing,
so suddenly disappeared. I wanted to
be the picture in his wallet, to hang blue

curtains in his windows, to save him from cruel
beautiful women who hate their fathers, wrapped
tight in choking black leather and rubber with
tiny steel spikes, with red hair swirling around

their inhuman necks, razors between their lips
and daggers between their breasts, who live and die
and live again, who claw their way out of graves
in the sulfur of thunderstorms to destroy,

betray him over and over. I'll never
be a woman like that. I can't fly, can't climb,
can't even somersault. I cried the first time
I ever saw Alcatraz. So I watch him,

and we grow old together, his belly poots
out a touch in his suit, and that rooftop crunch
of gravel may have been the misstep of
pain, a newly arthritic foot, and I think

if I'm too strong, can't tumble, fall into his
arms, maybe someday he will fall into mine.

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