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       A Verse Narrative by Michael E. Mautner


    Clark is a Greek hero, gift-
    bearing, has Henderson wrapped,
    like potatoes in a sack,
    in his cape of red fabric.
    Like his leotards' blue,
    it seems a shade of dull gray
    against the backdrop of night.
    The sheen off them would stop traffic
    if he did his good deeds by day.
    The time is not yet right
    for that.  Gray will have to do
    for now, until he's ready
    to tackle public display,
    to become a spectacle.
    Until then, smear the scrim of night
    that dull color!  Splatter of flight
    off his uniform -- remnant
    of searing the baby-blankets,
    clipping their red & blue in two
    with the eye-fire, ruby
    laser beams that cut the way
    no shears can -- slice the night grayly!

    Sometimes it's so dark that
    what he wears appears as black
    as a Western villain's hat.
    Villains seen in this wear white.
    Black and white make gray, and
    the query of the day is this:
    Can Henderson see shades of gray,
    or only what's wrong and right?;
    and, if he can, can he see gray
    in the need for the law's delay?

    Though thundering hoofbeats articulate
    facts constituting probable cause,
    no wave of arrests can Smallville take.
    Clark must talk, give the agent pause,
    tutor him in local flaws
    and so keep still the dull waters
    of this resuscitating town.
    The victim hung has been cut down:
    Let the gray corpse rest,
    let it lie like a dead man's
    and be no argument's subject.

    His trajectory takes them down.
    In flight, they slice the wind
    and it whistles, grayly.  He lands,
    and Ma admonishes him (not gaily):

    --    Clark, you can't confront the agent
          in that ridiculous get-up.
          If a man's to be took serious,
          he's got to look respectable.
          Go change to pants and a shirt
          and try to put up a good front.

    He does, then sets the table while
    Sarah presses a cold compress
    to Henderson's bruised brow.  Inert
    on the chesterfield the agent lies,
    his moans becoming groans,
    and the groans garbled words,
    barely audible.  It will be awhile
    before he is able to sup with them.

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