When the city’s in trouble
beware the brooding hero
whose beacon burns inside his chest
to throw designs on nightly skies
to dazzle unprotected eyes
and wraps bleak wings of righteousness
about himself—as mask & shield
against life’s slings and arrows

Who knows what empty vials reside
within his bathroom cabinet
what history has shaped his mind
and which parameters define
the nature of the villain

Lock your doors and bolt your thoughts
encase your heart in blocks of lead
make sure you’ve bought the time to hide
for inmates rampage on the streets—
outside the joker’s running wild
and every night it’s Gotham.

Selected byRaymond Huffman
Image credit:Adam Borkowski

author bio: Jan Harper


Enjoyment of the written word is a gift I've been granted all my life; to have others enjoy what I write is another, more surprising one.


When a poet's words are read, minds connect at an infinitely intimate level.


My writing has appeared in various print publications, from single pieces to arrangements of 10, plus in numerous spots across the web over the past 20 years.


I'm an ex-Brit living in America with my husband, mother-in-law, dog, cats and chickens, plus coyotes, rabbits, deer, possums and other wild critters; when I'm not writing poetry, I can be found with my hands in the dirt, planting and growing a kaleidoscope of produce, or making jams and good meals from the harvest. Painting, knitting, needlecraft and more all express my love of creating.


(photo taken with my phone of a little spot near Southend, England, where I once sat and ate burger and chips as I contemplated being a mermaid)