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       A Verse Narrative by Michael E. Mautner


    Stumbling over psychic edges,
    clenched fists swaying...
    Stuttering (to say what?),
    the ground opening below
    without so much as a swallow...

    Clark knows the park's underfoot --
    church and school each sit
    on opposite corners of Smallville Square;
    and state law assures that they'll stay there,
    separated by a lawn --
    but his eyes have found
    what appears to be a bottomless pit.
    Molten magma seems to fill it
    near to the grasses' roots,
    and a four-legged figure is shooting
    toward him, soaring over the roaring flames.
    Sorely perplexed, he presumes they're both pawns
    in an unknown someone's sinister game,
    then the creature assaults and he falls
    as somehow it rasps his hidden name --
    Human and beast wrestle on dusty streets,
    surfaces return to focus;
    a canine jaw gurgles "Kal"
    and reveals its possessor's purpose.
    "Simpering fool-child,"
    it drools into his eye:

    --    The church bells peel, peel
          and you squat to kneel, kneel
          with their altar boys.
          You can't steal,
          steal the earthers' joys,
          so quick, up and wheel,
          wheel from their cultic toys.

    As they struggle under Smallville's
    Liberty Tree, Clark at last is able
    to see, and he shouts,  "Krypto!
    What's the matter fellow?
    And who taught you how to talk?"
    But the god in the dog only balks,
    through its barking, at his plea:

    --    Come with me,
          let your wild side reign!
          This mild-manner act
          will bring you naught but pain.
          You are not the same
          as they who chew a wafer
          to heal the deepest wounds!
          You will feel much safer
          reeling to your own choir's tunes!

    Clark breaks off from wrestling --
    call the match a draw --
    and guesses (wrongly) at the facts.
    "Father," he says, humbly, "Here I am."
    In answer, his ex-pal
    slaps Clark with its paw,
    and the boy turns and whimpers
    like a guy who's been dumped by his gal.
    Clark burns at that.  'Krypto' explains:

    --    He is not and I'm not he.
          Jor-El is dead, so finally free!

    Clark reflexively jumps.
    The trees suddenly all become stumps
    and someone exclaims,
    "Look!  Up in the sky!"

    He didn't want to, he didn't even try,
    but -- though he's neither a bird nor a plane
    -- Clark Kent can fly.

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