They can't find him.
Their god has fled, or been exiled.
He's probably dead, and in his absence
each Kryptonian of Argos is
as helpless as a child.
Our next scene is set in deepest space,
where it's still nineteen and twenty-eight
by earthly reckoning. On a...
(But, wait --
Relativity tells us
we can assign no dates
to events in that frigid place,
thus a degree
of chill uncertainty
now will enter our story.
Score one for the physicist
with the frizzy hair,
that quiet man who
in innocent quest for truth
helped set the world on ear
and make all men hurry
after solidity, scurrying
in dizzy pursuit of peace.
To reduce that pace
I shall haltingly deny
the relevance of Einstein's theories
to my character's lives
and get on with my narrative
which tells truth and no lies.)
... lost asteroid
dangling in the void
tangled, greasy locks fall
across blue eyes, are brushed aside
by a blonde girl-child as she glides
across a commemorative hall.
It was latched shut
(she broke in), but
was lit -- by platinum's eerie glow,
the radiance of the halos
that surround her forefathers' forms.
Resolute against the walls
the statues stand, staring forward
lips unmoving, not cognizant
of the cobwebs that cover them all.
No-one comes here anymore.
There have been few respects to pay
since that disastrous day
when Krypton died and her dad,
the governor, lied to the priests
about what radio silence
meant. They tried to do him violence
in return, and so ignited
the fratricide that has tied
the colony into tight, bloody
cliques that practice the art
of fasting and fight for morsels
from the dwindling food supply.
Chewing the stale crust of a rye
loaf she stole, her stomach churns (pain!)
and she thinks of her mother,
now one of many parents
who were caught trying to obtain
a daughter's flight.
She couldn't remain above --
no, not for all her love --
she had to run, had to run
and now she has come
from the stone shades' home
to where sulfurous dust
stifles all sight,
to a cave at the colony's core.
Tears flow more freely here than before.
She collapses into a heap
on the cold stone floor
and falls fast asleep.
But, a few seconds more
and she's up, for there's a light
being cast by a brazier
near an azure brick door.
She wants to speak, but doesn't dare.
She fears the torchbearer may
hear her and raise the hue and cry.
He doesn't. He mumbles a prayer,
stows his flaming burden
in a scabbard on the wall
to speak the sacred name.
Behind a stalagmite, entranced,
the girl crouches. The man
sits down on one of the couches,
doffs his high felt hat, lifts his arms,
and lets his robe unfold. Its once
creased fabric unfurls and is caught
in a rising draft, and the girl
suddenly knows where she's at:
This must be the Sodium Cove,
where all the legends hold
Raoman himself once sat,
entwined first with his harem,
then with his one Betrothed --
The Holy of Holies,
the High Priest's abode
where he, and he only
must go when duties left him
under secular statutes
(his highest, and those of least
import) demand that he consult
the son of Krypton's crimson Sun.
He drinks holy water and begins
intoning. She stares in wonder
and thinks, "This may be fun."
Thusly do his words run:
-- Great Rao!, Source of all power!
Lord to whom we bow!
Need we now renounce you
O vanished father
O unrisen sun?
With feigned dumbness you chide us
when e'er we approach to confide --
Why? Where are you hiding,
and why did you go,
and will we ever know you again?
The air's music still rages
at the world's death,
but you deny us your life's-breath --
its mist our spirit-wages --
and we are greatly distressed.
I know you cannot die,
my king, for your reign is endless.
Heed me, then, and give redress,
tell the source of our reproach!
Sing a bass reply
and show your face,
let give a gentle nod.
Will you tell me why,
O my rock, O my god?
He weeps, his sobs birthing pity
for this man of the holy city
in the girl, whom he's robbed of mom.
From a crevice she had earlier
taken a stone for a weapon
into her tiny, sweating palm.
She returns it now and a dense calm,
thick like a fog, carves a fiefdom
in the caverns around her
and within. She listens in this state
as her chief foe (she learned early on
to label him the master reprobate)
relates a tale all of her race,
as toddlers, once were tested on.
It saddens her, that such beauteous
words, her poet-ancestor's best,
should serve as desperation's utterance.