‘Small Boys, Three and Four’ by Erinn Batekyfer


On June 23rd, 1989, Batman (the first feature-length Batman movie since 1966) opened in theaters. Starring Michael Keaton as playboy millionaire/caped vigilante Bruce Wayne and Jack Nicholson as his Joker nemesis, Batman went on to gross over $400 million in box-office totals worldwide and paved the way for Hollywood’s treatment of superhero movies today.

In the fall of 2008, Erinn Batekyfer’s poem “Small Boys, Three and Four” was published in the Prairie Schooner. That fall’s average temperature was 53.2°F, which was fairly standard; September was warmer than normal but both October and November were both cooler than the average, and September and October netted almost four extra inches of precipitation together. – Tory Clower

Erinn Batekyfer
Small Boys, Three and Four
for Oscar and Ike

Pickers of elaborate latches and locks;
knowers of terrible facts whose faces contort
into the faces of pythons unhinging their jaws
to swallow enormous antelopes whole;
tiers of mind-boggling nets of knots and diggers
of holes in the middle of the backyard;
disdainers of clothing whose Batman underwear
is all that reminds between you and gravity, now,
that force you experiment with like mad scientists;
wearers of yellowing bruises and bumps, proof
of how many chairs you’ve misjudged the leap from
in your frenetic living room lab—forget Newton!—
I see now, as you pile every blanket in the house
at the foot of the stairs and ready yourselves to jump,
that his laws cannot apply here, his equations
did not factor you in as variables, nor this part of you
that will never be sure you can’t fly, making every leap
the leap during which you might.