Superman gets his powers by absorbing light from the sun. His body takes all that visible light, those gamma rays, that ultraviolet light, even the infrared light I can’t see, and sucks it all in. His cells absorb it and turn it into heat vision, super strength, flight ability, et cetera. Superman has saved the world a million times – in the comics.

I look at my skin and wonder. Melanin absorbs too. It takes in the sunlight, rejects what might kill me, and turns the rest into vitamin D and heat. It makes sure I won’t get skin cancer. It’ll keep me looking younger for longer. What else could it do if I knew how to treat my body better? What else could it do if I knew how treat my mind better?

The homeless sleeping on the streets outside my window have become no more than people colored stains on the sidewalk. I see Brown women selling parts of their body like walking butcher shops. Man-made chemicals have hollowed out the eyes and cheeks of Black men who roam the sidewalks like zombies. As they walk to work, or a bar, or to bed I see people who are being attacked by their own hearts. Angry organs and veins that have been pushed too far are conspiring to kill their owners: people who live lives of scarcity, fear and rage.

What could we be if we stopped? What could we be if we just looked at ourselves, then looked at that sun?


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