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
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,
Reams of comic books, stacked one after the other
Like a line of
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
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.
Doctors say distractions are good
Don’t worry. Soon they’ll have a date.
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.
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.
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