If You Need My, I'll Be On Kypton

As I sat in Mrs Cameron's 4th grade classroom,
staring out the window at the yellow sun,
I pretended I could fly around the world
and stop trains and shoot lasers from my eyes.

Who didn't want to be Superman? I wondered.
Who wouldn't want to be able to outrun a bullet?
Who wouldn't want to catch bad guys?
Who wouldn't want to save the world?

Krypton was a real thing, after all.
It was as real as the oxygen we breathed.
There it was: certain, indisputable proof
that Superman could be me.

My eye spied that giant Kr nestled
underneath the Ar,
sidled up against the Br,
and the word NOBLE
drifting over to me in waves,
crashing into my white knight complex
and filling my lungs with the sweet oxygen.

But, we don't breathe oxygen, as I learned that day.
The air around us is mainly nitrogen.
It's colorless.
It's odorless.
It's invisible.
And, when it bonds to oxygen, it
makes us dizzy, makes us vomit, makes us sick.

And oxygen!
It's colorless,
odorless,
invisible.

And... Krypton.

An inert gas.
Suspended in our atmosphere at
1 part per million.
Millions of nitrogens, oxygens,
carbons, and argons.

Millions of men
and women
suspended in stratagems, paragems,
dissolutions, and bygones.

Millions of dreams of flying
and bullets bouncing off our chests
vaporized when the bullets pass through us.

Men of steel?
Stolen men.

Krypton is a gas,
and just like that,
Superman vanishes with the
slightest breeze
from the open window
in Mrs Cameron's 4th grade class.

I should learn to put my dreams
into that which I can see,
for little is ever what it seems,
and Superman I'll never be.

-JR Simmang

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