Waiting for Wolverine

by Rachel Thornton (age 16, Kildare)

You have the right to the best healthcare possible, safe water to drink, nutritious food, a clean and safe environment, and information to help you stay well. Photograph: Getty Images

You have the right to the best healthcare possible, safe water to drink, nutritious food, a clean and safe environment, and information to help you stay well. Photograph: Getty Images

 

Sit up straight. Head forward. Shoulders back.

If you want to relieve the stress;

Stick out your chest; Feet flat on the floor;

Take a pill if it gets sore.

A year ago. I remember

In the memorabilia shop one day,

There were

Reams of comic books, stacked one after the other

Like a line of

Disjointed vertebrae.

They felt alien. They felt real.

Not a touchscreen glass

In a rimmed steel cage

But actual paper, moulded from multi-coloured ink

And characters breathing from the page.

Storm. Rogue. Quicksilver. Colossus.

I got lost

In every scene,

In a kaleidoscopic, pop-art clash

Of Magneto

Versus Wolverine.

Fun fact:

Wolverine was melded to metal rods

To stand with gods for a noble cause.

A metal X-Man;

Modelled anew; an alloy body gave him power.

A silver skeleton

Gave him claws.

I’ll be a superhero someday.

Not a wonder woman,

Shaped from goddess clay

Or a robot made of little lions but

A wolverine; fused with iron and zinc

They say that day is soon.

I think.

Doctors say distractions are good

Don’t worry. Soon they’ll have a date.

Until then,

I have the X-Men. I’ll sit here and wait,

As my mutant body can relate.

Whenever there’s screaming in my grinding muscles,

And there are knives tussling through the borderline

And you feel the fifty-five degree heat

That’s sprawling down my twisted spine.

In their stories, I find a friend,

Because I always know how the story will end.

It feels alien. It feels real.

The thought of being sculpted and smelted

And pelted into steel.

Even superheroes can’t always be strong

When they have to wait so long.

For now, we humans fight our fights

Against crying lumbers

And slumber-less nights.

What am I supposed to do

When my mortal foe is waiting lists

And two hundred and thirty other kids

Just waiting to be superheroes too?

Our quiet battle goes unheard

As we’re passed up, pushed back, referred

Blood tests, breath tests

On and on.

Tell me, when is the pain gone?

When are you people going to see

And make a superhero out of me?

Because they decide when you’ll wear the cape,

At what time you will finally escape.

They’ll pick and choose

Which one is worthy,

Which one is worse,

Who will go first.

We’re eager for their diagnosis.

Scoliosis:

A superpower and a curse.

But then again.

It’s not up to me.

It’s not up to us.

If and when we will be Wolverine

I guess until that day

I’m not a superhero.

I’m just an X-Man

In an x-ray.

Stick out your chest. Feet flat on the floor

Your date is coming soon, I’m sure.

Shoulders back. Head forward. Sit up straight.

You might be in for a very long wait.

Article 24

You have the right to the best healthcare possible, safe water to drink, nutritious food, a clean and safe environment, and information to help you stay well

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