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       A Verse Narrative by Michael E. Mautner


    Plentiful game in the Land of Zon,
    but not a bite to eat.
    All true vittles are dead and gone,
    burnt by the brutal heat.

    Lyla Lerrol takes a seat,
    sucks on a tube in her suit
    (refreshing here, this water),
    but sweats still like a boar.
    What sector Jor-El's projector
    has taken her to meet
    she knows not; but her quest
    will not be but half begun
    until she dons the rest
    of her costume and blocks out the sun
    that makes the Phantom Zone a sauna
    where all the 'life' that lives
    is flocks of meatless fauna.

    Later, goggled and shielded, she surveys
    the landscape.  It gambols each way,
    rolling postern to horizon,
    Pre-Cambrian yet post-modern.
    Metallic daffodils tower
    over melted copper meadows
    that loll to the gold-dust banks
    of a lake of liquid lead wherein
    iron-maiden fishes sink or swim,
    their rusty scales scraping against
    the nuts and bolts that keep their fins
    attached.  Birds of brass are being
    hatched atop a tin can mountain,
    whose craggy peak soars aglow
    to scratch the amber sky
    of an endless noon; while, below,
    in the lush, litter-full valley,
    there is room for iridium
    insect swarms to hide from platinum
    pelican predators, persistent
    in their pecking away at every
    onyx boot and shining silver slipper.
    Clouds of soot spit clear acid rain
    down on the decay, painfully
    filling ruby rivers who rush
    toward an opaque ocean to which
    a wind has wandered, its hot gusts
    raking at Lyla's back.  She trusts
    her mistress and their master and
    inflates the lead-leaf raft they gave her
    on the 'water.'  The wind aft, she drifts.

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