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Problem with supercripts

I've read that variables can be subscripted with underscore "_" and superscripted with caret "^". However supescripting doesn't seem to work. I think the caret is seen as a power operator. How to work around this?

Subscript example that works:

eqn = x == y*z_a
solve(eqn, z_a)

Superscript example that fails:

eqn = x == y*z^a
solve(eqn, z^a)