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       A Verse Narrative by Michael E. Mautner



    Bulkheads and a dome defend precious cargoes
    from the frigid emptiness without;
    he is warm, rolling in soft covers,
    wafting on the waves of a star-sea.

    Crystals humming statistics,
    flashing images of home
    (the old one and the one nearing),
    vibrate their colorful lessons
    to him; they sing him the song
    of this his journey even on
    its last leg.  His smile
    (innocent reflection!)
    shows him ignorant of loss --
    that he is a careening shard
    from a shattered looking glass,
    shadow of a great people cast
    long upon the galaxy, fragile
    and unaware of its course.
    Alas, alack; is the son lost?
    Worry not; the father planned well.
    The noble line of El,
    whose women lived on grace's peak,
    whose men reigned, scientists and kings,
    over a cold and rigid, unsavable race,
    has ended, but will shed its grace
    upon a hill in wind swept Kansas.
    The universe, thus, is womb,
    and the solar wind will midwife
    the approaching birth.  Meanwhile,
    Krypton's tribute to the Americans --
    still Kal-El ("Star Child"); soon earth's son --
    is rocked to sleep by the subliminal
    school-song of pulsating reds and blues.
    This is good -- that he may doze through
    the shock of his Arrival.

    How violently he debuts
    over isle-like homesteads
    floating on flatness draped
    in gold and guarded from night
    by inverted cloud-mountains,
    white battlements all but ready
    to burst with the morning's gray rain.

    How swiftly that defensive line
    parts before this shape that came
    through the curves of time
    to orbit the earth tonight,
    this gleaming silver bullet
    before which fertile humus --
    torn, anguished -- overturns,
    uplifts, bleeds forth damp
    and black and worm-full
    as the burning wreckage
    of an alien heritage
    ploughs speedily, yet silently through.

    This wheat wrapped Prairie --
    mostly barren in Native days,
    purged by blood of warring brethren
    flooded over her by Brown
    and other ravers, strapped down
    under rail tracks laid
    by heartless Robber Barons,
    nurtured by kin of ancient Norsemen who,
    abandoned here en route West, dug deep into
    the dirt and ice and made abodes in soil
    they later toiled with to make their land,
    the continent's heart, garden to a Grand
    -- cradles now a boy who could be king.
    Heated metal cracks open, exposing
    him to the sky, and to the great ring,
    the explosion of sound that ripples down
    his rocket's trail and passes over.
    So is he heralded: By sound waves
    crashing against a homestead-island's shore,
    cascading window-droplets inward,
    sprinkling them on the house's floor.

    This the start of modern heroic lore:
    Red iron cools to its natural blue,
    and, as drizzle debuts in the sky,
    an old man opens an oaken door
    and hears a baby cry.

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