Elizabeth Barrette (ysabetwordsmith) wrote,
Elizabeth Barrette

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Poem: "Restoration"

This poem was inspired by prompts from aldersprig, the_vulture, and moonwolf1988. It comes early in the Monster House series, between "Home Shriek Home" and "Sticky Fingers."

This microfunded poem is being posted one verse at a time, as donations come in to cover them. The rate is $.50 per line, so $5 will reveal 10 new lines, and so forth. There is a permanent donation button on my profile page, or you can contact me for other arrangements. You can also ask me about the number of lines per verse, if you want to fund a certain number of verses.  

So far sponsors include: the_vulture, zianuray, laffingkat, kitrona, thesilentpoet, Anonymous, general fund

110 lines, Buy It Now = $55
Amount donated = $39
Verses posted = 17 of 25

Amount remaining to fund fully = $15
Amount needed to fund next verse = $3
Amount needed to fund the verse after that = $4

See an adorable sketch of "Restoration" -- the scene with the monsters peering through the oven door at the radiator dragon -- illustrated by meeksp on LiveJournal or on Dreamwidth. Thoughtful comments and donations both count towards refinement of sketches, and there are perks for driving traffic too. Please comment and mention that I sent you.


When the kitchen radiator stopped working
in our fixer-upper house,
we waited for the troll in the basement
to restore the pressure.

An hour later, he trundled up the stairs
and poked at the radiator with various tools.
Then he shook his head.
"Need another radiator," he declared,
removing the old one from its place.

So my girl and I went to the salvage yard
in search of a working radiator.
We discarded several that looked too worn
before I finally spied one in good condition.
When I tried to lift it out of the pile, though,
something slightly softer than metal
shifted under my hand.

"What the...?"
I said.

"Loose pipe?"
my girl asked, frowning.

"No," I said, "not a pipe."
My hands traced the long form,
cold as metal and motionless.
A serpentine head flopped free
of the radiator's coils.

"Oh! It's a dragon!"
my girl exclaimed.

"It looks dead,"
I said sadly.

"Maybe not," she said.
"They need heat, like snakes.
He could be hibernating.
Help me untangle him."

So we carefully extricated the dragon
from the mass of metal, its scaly hide
a perfect match for the coiled piping,
its paws curled into stiff little fists.
My girl unzipped her jacket,
wrapped the limp dragon around her waist,
then zipped up her jacket again.

"Do you think body heat will be enough?"
I asked quietly.

She folded her arms around herself
and the dragon. "Not really," she said,
"but it may help, at least until we get home."

I heaved the radiator onto the little cart
and hauled it to the counter to pay.
As we drove home, I watched
from the corner of my eye,
but I never saw a sign of motion.

I lugged the replacement radiator inside
while my girl tucked the dragon into the oven
and turned the dial to broil.

The troll installed the radiator while
the monsters under-the-bed and in-the-closet
peered through the oven window,
murmuring to each other:
"Is it dead?"
"I think it moved."

When the radiator finally heated up,
my girl put on a pair of oven mitts
and opened the door.
The dragon hissed at her weakly,
then snapped, its coils stirring.
She looked at the short cloth mitts,
then went to exchange them
for the long silicone elbow sleeves.
She grabbed the dragon behind the head,
like a testy snake, and looped its body
over her other hand. The tail flicked,
but most of the dragon still hung limp.
Baleful black eyes glared at us,
each lit by a single dim spark.

She draped the dragon gently over the radiator.
"There now," she said, "you're home."
The dragon hissed at us again,
slowly flexing its sluggish muscles
as it shifted position.

By morning, the dragon had hidden itself,
tucked into the toasty space
between the radiator and the wall.
We didn't see it again for days,
until the scent of Sunday baking
began to get its attention.

When the sticky buns came out of the oven
and filled the kitchen with fragrant steam,
I heard a plaintive hiss from the radiator.
Sure enough, there was the dragon,
coiled over and around the metal fixture,
both eyes glowing blue as gas-lights.
A forked tongue flicked out
to taste the warm air.

With a pair of tongs, I picked up a sticky bun
and held it out to the dragon.
Blue eyes regarded me for a long moment
and then the toothy jaws opened
to accept the peace offering.

When I went to shut the oven door,
it resisted, and I shoved a little too vigorously.
It slammed closed, and the walls rattled,
and a pane of glass fell out of the window
onto the kitchen table.

"I'll get the putty,"
I said with a sigh.

My girl chuckled.
"You know what I love most
about old houses?" she said.

"What?" I asked.

She smiled at the radiator dragon.
Tags: cyberfunded creativity, fantasy, fishbowl, horror, poem, poetry, reading, writing

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