My grandson loves superheroes,
especially the Avengers,
spending hours playing with his action figures,
going on wild adventures with Batman
helping him to save Gotham City,
sending Spiderman soaring through the air
swinging on webs as tough as steel,
loading Ironman’s suit with secret weapons to
take down his dastardly opponents.
Pow, pow, pow, pow pow.
My grandson loves action figures,
but he also loves nail polish,
delighting at how his sister’s sparkly
fingers and toes shimmer and shine in the light,
inviting compliments from strangers
admiring how beautiful she looks.
My grandson wants fiery red
fingernails to match Spider-Man’s awesome mask,
fluorescent green toenails as vivid
as the Green Lantern flexed his muscles,
and a little bit of blue glitter to mirror
Captain America’s cape.
My grandson asks
his mother to paint his fingers and toes
with vibrant colors so he can shimmer and shine
and receive noteworthy
praise from strangers like his sister.
His mother furrows her brows in indecision,
desiring to indulge her son’s reasonable wishes
yet having to consider cultural norms
so arbitrary and judgmental,
and whether he will be bullied in school.
My grandson loves superheroes;
but he also loves nail polish.
Peggy Gerber is a poet and short story writer from Northern, New Jersey. She is the 2021 winner of the Open Contract Challenge and author of the poetry chapbook Stumbling in CrazyTown. Her works can be found in many publications including Better than Starbucks, Daily Science Fiction and The World of Myth Magazine.