Prepare to Exit an Absurd Universe
They march on.
She is a brave woman,
this Lyla, whom Zod often saw
playing in the picture-shows
that used to play in old Kandor
before the revolution,
before his Revolution.
She was a tart, he had thought,
a pin-up girl. The scientists
paraded her ilk to make stout
men swirl their heads, distracted.
He was wrong. She is strong of will;
old ill views be all retracted.
They march on. He takes the lead,
for he has once before been
to their destination,
to the tar pit three-score feet
under the cliff, where robot
natives worship a color-whirl
of hues that shift, then go clear
to reveal... What?
Scenes from next week's show?
From series canceled long ago?
New channels, or new peoples?
Hidden worlds, or a peep show
cosmos only? The questions
plague Zod as they draw near it.
The robots are chanting.
Zod and Lyla can hear
well the squeaking ranting
of verbal metal runes,
this enchanted speaking
of indecipherable tunes.
"Quite an introduction," whispers
Zod, "wouldn't you say, to the Zone's
rituals?" For awhile, Lyla is
spellbound, then says, "We'll camp the night
here," the way the doctor tells you
a relative has died. "No night
here," he says. And she?: "Just as well."
And, it is. The androids are done
with their droning. They back up
penitently as the pit
starts spitting up... What?
Synthetic catgut sutures?
Xerox copiers from the future?
The robots are reduced
to a silent recessional,
in the methodic plodding of which
Zod deduces her plan. She's going
to dive right in, isn't she?
She is a brave woman.
He sleeps the night dreaming on
she who bested him at last.
Dawn. Her thirteenth day in the land
that lied to its Creator.
She sits, her suit hot, making sweat.
How has he survived without one?
The fortitude of the mad,
she decides, screens out all pains,
to the burning edge of doom,
even. Yet, he is still a man.
A man has a right to know.
She will tell him.
He yawns. She speaks, very slow:
-- Zod? It's gone.
-- Hmm? What's gone?
-- Home. The world. Krypton.
-- What! How?
(And he tries to stand,
forgetting that chains
-- Blown up.
-- By men? By war?
Don't leave me stew
in cryptic 'know,'
woman: Tell me more!
-- By men whose inaction
allowed natural forces
to follow foreseeable courses
-- Surely there were warning voices?
-- Only one.
-- How did you know?
-- His was our greatest mind.
I held it in high regard,
fact he caged me here aside.
Now it seems I've him to thank.
After all, I survived.
He smiles. Billions died and he grins
that he wasn't one of them.
For the first time since her own sins,
dull in comparison to his,
she sees true evil. Zod may as well
state his intent, for his smile speaks
volumes: "She'll try to leave me here," he thinks,
"But I want to go. Wither, wherever,
anywhere but this land of smoke-not-mist
and squalls of laundry-snow!
Turn the tables on her! Bind her wrists,
she won't be missed, then into the pit I'll go!"
Bate my breath, he thinks, and wait.
She will watch his every movement.