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By Buckley & Ott

The bottom of Jacinto's feet could suck up
the carpet lint, hinting at a career in janitorial
services, the promised spot at Xavier's School
for Gifted Youngsters swapped for a space at
Ignatius' Academy for the Otherwise Talented.
Markie's prehensile larynx allowed him to yodel
"The Star Spangled Banner" while torqueing it
at the plate to sock Mucus Boy's forkball into
the meditative rock garden of almost heroes.
Upstairs in her dorm room, Mei Ling struggled
to pick an apt but impressive name for her
costumed self, a Spandex-clad were-possum.
Downstairs in the kitchen, the kid who could
eat anything recycled the garbage, a human
compost, accused of eating his feelings before
his vegetables, sneaking a delectable handful
of perfectly shiny carpet tacks in with the tea
bags and eggshells, covertly wishing his crush
with Mei Ling wouldn't backfire this full moon.
There were even more accidents impossible
to avoid with the hijinks of decidophobic twins
who saw equally terrifying, mutually exclusive
possible futures in every reflective surface,
each one paused like Buridan's ass whenever
the team entered the Safety Room, a padded
training zone with a cyborg therapist projecting
endless humiliating scenarios. The alien tech
probed like a fumbling stepfather: "I know I can
never take your dad's place, but what do you
think of these slacks? Salmon or teal? Did you

know that your ancestors could not have stood
in a line without thinking about predators or blue
light specials? Scatter before the feathers fall."
And after Doctor Ignatius used his guilt-vision
to catch Tri-Peeper Tommy watching Evolvo
Lass take a boiling methane shower, Dean of
Misanthropic?Studies Page McManus gathered
faculty, preached lax punishments to appease
the donors and informed them of new adjuncts

keeping tabs on the sly shapeshifters poised
to leverage juicy dirt on tenured instructors for
a shot at teaching Intermediate Xenosociology.
Love in the end did them in. It always does.
The forbidden teacher-student affair forced
everyone to choose sides in the graduation
battle royale, split long-term couples and family
bonds. Each lungful of lofty exposition before
a punch or power blast exhausted the patience
of the humans already aware of the mutations
of ultraviolet light, the nature that makes us
choose between black and white. The tribes

have passed this way before, the differences
both big and small enough to bring everyone
together as brothers and sisters of destruction.
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About Buckley & Ott

John F. Buckley and Martin Ott began their ongoing games of poetic volleyball in the spring of 2009. Since then, their collaborations have been accepted into more than seventy journals and anthologies, including Barrow Street, Drawn to Marvel, Map Literary, Rabbit Ears: TV Poems, Redivider, and ZYZZYVA, and gathered into two full-length collections on Brooklyn Arts Press, Poets’ Guide to America (2012) and Yankee Broadcast Network (2014). They are now writing poems for a third manuscript, American Wonder, about superheroes and supervillains.

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