I grew up hearing the stories of great comic-book heroes,
Figures large enough to overshadow boogie man fears.
How we could combat being scared of the dark
because we had Spiderman and Superman.
The monsters in the closet could be gone in a Flash.
And we learned Good always won over Evil.
At school, we would fight over who played which Power Ranger,
Mutant Ninja Turtle,
Rock-paper-scissors for Batman,
and condolences to whoever got stuck with Robin.
These fictional characters so woven into the fabric of my childhood that sometimes,
it was hard to remember fact from fantasy.
Wonder Woman always looked so much like my mom,
with ivory skin and dark locks that hung in perfect waves around her face.
I almost assumed she was the muse for DC comics.
Maybe one of the artists happened to see her one day on his way to work.
At 7, I didn’t really calculate the math correctly on that one.
Because Wonder Woman first appeared in 1941 and adding any unnecessary years to my mother’s age would really tick her off.
But all I could think was how much this great heroic beauty resembled my mom.
I didn’t know how she sick was growing up.
Because she never missed a thing.
Volunteered to chaperone field trips,
Sat front and center at my kindergarden play,
Asked how school was every single day, and actually listened.
The way a mother listens to the heartbeat of her first child,
Listened like she’s never heard anything quite as beautiful,
the way my mother made me feel with every word I spoke.
Even when I talked,
I’m an only child cliche,
but I love to talk.
And she always listened,
even when her ears were flames.
Her neck on display,
She burned from the inside.
I asked her why she looked like that at night,
Why a butterfly would spread across her face.
I wished for wings that would attach to the rotten parts of her body and fly out of her sweetness,
choose to land far away.
I didn’t realize my mother was battling her own villain.
But see, Lupus was not just a plot line,
some twist in the story.
Lupus was not the name of a pretty girl, like I first thought when I was young.
Lupus was not Marvel, or DC, or Saturday morning cartoons.
Lupus was the reason I heard my mom cry when she thought I was asleep because her pain was at an all time high,
And Lupus was the reason I was never really sure if I believed in God.
Because superheroes were supposed to beat the villain.
I had seen this story line enough times.
They were supposed to be invincible.
They weren’t supposed to cozy up to death every night,
wear IVs like bracelets and hospital gowns like couture.
But Wonder Woman is just a character.
And no, I’m not religious,
but if I were to use the word savior
it would be my mother,
In the name of my dead father,
and holy cow,
she is strength.
More Athena than woman.
More warrior than victim.
A muse who wakes every day
and chooses to be a light.
Sunshine when others would be thunderstorms.
I have realized that no,
my mother is in fact not wonder woman.
Because my mother is so,
so much more.