Orange Rocks | Joey Nicoletti

I’m not a superhero, but can I be
in charge, the master of my own narrative?

When I was a child, there was a day
when my mother was an enormous bruise, swelling

on a thigh of mid-July sky. She
told me she was leaving my father. We were

in a bookstore. “I won’t suffer fools
in any form,” she said to me. Swear to god

that you won’t, too, Joefish.” I agreed.
My mother nodded her head, then handed me

a comic: Marvel Two in One. The
Thing: Ben Grimm and Doc Savage punched through a wall

on the smooth cover. I remember
wanting to feel as powerful, as resolved

as they were, as my mother was
that afternoon. Alas. I could not control

the dynamics around me. I still
can’t. But looking back, I can track my first sense

of concern; of worrying about
someone else’s well-being to this book, and

I hear the orange rocks of my mother’s
voice when I read Ben’s dialogue, the mid-day

sun’s yellow stammer, spitting
into parking lot potholes.


Joey Nicoletti is the author of four poetry books, most recently Boombox Serenade (BlazeVOX, 2019). His Pushcart Prize-nominated work has appeared in numerous journals and anthologies, including Drawn to Marvel: Poems from the Comic Books, and Poet Sounds: An Anthology Inspired by The Beach Boys’ Pet Sounds. He’s on Twitter @JoeyNicoletti and Instagram @joeynicoletti.