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Maurya Simon

Worf Meets God at the Voyager Laundromat

Because the starship's life-support system
Had begun to malfunction, and he needed
To clear his humanoid head and blaspheme

The command of a superior officer who meted
Out duties like an android with amnesia,
Worf wended his way to the laser-heated,

Faux-folksy but spotless Laundry Arena,
There to expertly expunge the daily dirt
From his uniform, and the cosmic bacteria.

While the crew idled in Stay-Clean shirts,
In a temporarily suspended animation,
He stuffed his jammies, trousers, and shorts

Into a Vacuum-Vulcanizing Star-Station
Maytag, programmed it for starch the scent
Of gardenias, then sat to ponder fusion.

Suddenly there seemed to be a deltoid dent
Buckling the far Arena wall, then a shuddering,
And Worf leaped up, his laser gun clenched

In his huge fist, aimed and ready to fire.
A mirage of sorts, an electron haze coalesced
Slowly into what looked like a Wall St. financier.

(Worf was well-versed in late twenty-first
Century American socio-economic anomalies:
He knew this was a stock broker, or worse.)

The Alien was aglow with galactic pleasantries.
"Who are you?" Worf demanded in his booming voice.
"They used to call me God," the other wheezed,

"But that was long ago. Now I'm just white noise,
an illusion which questing sorts like yourself
call forth unwittingly in troubled times."

Holstering his gun with a sigh, again Worf
Eased into his chair and said, "Leave me alone.
I can't abide charlatans, and you're the fourth

God-pretender I've met in this millennium.
The other turned himself into a burning bush.
"Won't work," Worf muttered over the Maytag's hum.

The visitor re-formed itself in a dazzling rush
Of sparks: now it appeared as a Klingon vixen,
All Amazonian brawn and steely-eyed machisma.

Worf's jaundiced eye took stock of this vision
Of delight, this female soul-mate warrior,
And his jaw dropped. "I'm not usually given

"To praising anyone, especially a delusion, or
An alien apparition, but you're quite a sight,"
He confessed. The Klingon babe began to purr:

"Listen, Worf. I can be an antidote or anthracite,
A black hole or black widow, God or the Devil,
Or..." a buzzer sounded, then the blinking light

On the Maytag flashed out "Completed Cycle."
Worf snapped his fingers to end the program,
Removed his clean clothes, put them in a bundle.

"I don't believe in supreme beings, holy holograms,
God-the-Almighty, some everlasting Shapeshifter,
Amorphous spirits or anthropomorphic deities. I am,"

Worf continued, "a die-hard, warp-speed agnostic,
And I need to get back to the deck and my commander."
But he paused to take one more long, lustful look

At the buxom Klingon imposter, then he cleared
His throat. "If you can actually prove you're God,
Then I'll become your first starship apostle, my dear."

But the queenly form was vanishing, even now
As Worf spoke, and in its place there grew
The spitting image of a sadly decrepit Mr. Spock.

"I always wanted to be a poet, but I knew
I'd have to settle for playing God," Spock said.
"Right," Worf grinned, "but I much prefer you

in your former guise. It's easier to idolize."
He turned squarely on his boot heel, exited.
Spock faded; the Arena buzzed on, untelevised.

-- For Robert Falk

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