John C. Mannone
It’s Not Always Magic
From the window in his study, the star
he’s been waiting for pierces the dark
icy skies. He calls to his wife, It is time!
He hurries to his workshop behind
the house, commands the elves to get
the reindeer team ready.
In the corner of the complex, the space-time
machine rests on the launch pad, shiny
with promises for the children of the world.
After last-minute system checks, Santa
emerges in his polysynthetic suit, red
with white trim,and a simple-looking bag—
but a very special sack to be filled with
a plethora of toys no matter the size, a miracle
of math, a fractal-packing algorithm
for compressing millions of games, dolls,
bicycles, and the whir of innovative toys.
No magic yet, just shape-shifting beams
scanning cargo and teleporting them
into Santa’s bag. He nods to his elves
and to the reindeer team, then bellows
Computer! All systems go.
Prepare for launch.
Set space-time coordinates.
Engage quantum gravity drive.
The steady hum of engines beneath
the transport rattles instruments, reindeer
brace. Lights flicker everywhere
as if Christmas tree decorations.
A soft mechanical voice
from the computer console affirms
Multiverse simultaneity achieved,
space-time coherence controls phased,
allspace-locked and synchronized for
local midnight December 24, globally.
Santa commands, Computer.
Engage antigravity shields.
Space-time-warping drives spool
and in a flash of starburst light, created
gravity dilates time in the world outside
the sled-like vehicle.
Visual guidance through quantum fog
(generated by Hawking radiation) achieved:
Gravitationally red-shifted light provides
a clear path through gravity waves.
Santa calls this his Rudolf Light.
And as so many times throughout the ages,
the mission to all the homes begins. Not all
have a safe fireplace, if one at all. But a bit
of magic allows a chimney-looking portal
for Santa to enter every living room.
But he must be so careful not to be seen.
More than once, a wide-awake kid hiding
in the room had witnessed the visitation.
Fortunately, her parents did not believe.
The return trip was always satisfying
despite exhausting efforts to delight
so many children. Santa smiles.
With the space-time machine back,
elves cheering in the touchdown zone,
Santa’s wife welcomes him with a hug
and a prolonged kiss. Before they retire,
they both kneel by the window,
the ever present star still brilliant.
They pray together thanking Him,
the giver of light, and maker
of all the toys.
John C. Mannone has speculative poetry in North Dakota Quarterly, Artemis Journal, Eye to the Telescope, New England Journal of Medicine, Baltimore Review, Pedestal, Pirene’s Fountain, and others. An HWA Horror Scholarship winner (2017), he edits poetry for Abyss & Apex, Silver Blade, Liquid Imagination and American Diversity Report. He’s a retired physics professor living near Chattanooga, TN.
Editor’s Note: The black hole image with a small, but bright star in its core (pixelstalk)is a perfect symbol of the Christmas star. It is overlaid with a Santa& reindeer silhouette (pngio), which has been artistically rendered with a glow to simulate antigravity shields protecting them. The red glow is chosen for obvious reasons.