Elizabeth Barrette (ysabetwordsmith) wrote,
Elizabeth Barrette
ysabetwordsmith

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Poem: "Cover Stories"

This poem was inspired by the "hogging the blankets" square on my Cottoncandy_bingo card.  It belongs to the Schrodinger's Heroes  project, and you can explore that further on the menu page.  It is posted here as a bonus perk for the September 4, 2012 Poetry Fishbowl reaching the $400 threshold.




Cover Stories


It started the night that Bailey crashed in Alex's bed
and stole all the covers and Alex pushed him onto the floor.
A sleepy (and somewhat bruised) Bailey
stumbled into the kitchen the next morning,
complaining about Alex being unwilling to share.

Pat merely raised his eyebrows.
"I know how it goes," he said.
"Some of my spice hog the blankets too."
"With so many of you, how do you deal with that?"
Bailey wondered as he poured a cup of coffee.
"We got more blankets," Pat said.

The next time the issue arose,
Quinn and Morgan got into a tug-of-war
over the ratty secondhand afghan
on the couch in the common room.

"Clearly something needs to be done about this,"
Pat said, peeling the tattered afghan
off the two combatants.
"Fine," said Quinn, "I'll get my own."
He stalked out of the room.

"Oh my god, that's hideous,"
Alex said when Quinn returned
wrapped in a purple-white-green striped afghan.
"It's the genderqueer pride flag," Quinn huffed.
"It is still hideous," Bailey said.
"I am not speaking to you," Quinn said.

And didn't, for days.

Eventually Pat showed up with an armload of afghans.
"We had some spares," he said.  "This is yours."
He handed Quinn one striped in blue-pink-white-pink-blue. 
"Transgender pride," Quinn said.  "It'll do.  Thanks."

"This one is mine," Pat said as he unfolded an afghan
striped blue-red-black with a gold π in the center.
"Choice," Morgan said.  "What is it?  Geek pride?"
Pat laughed.  "Poly pride," he said.  "My wives made it."

"I made the intersex one just in case," Pat said,
indicating a pink-yellow-blue afghan.
Then Pat laid out the magenta-yellow-cyan one
and explained, "Pansexual pride."
"I love it," Quinn said.
"Quinn never met a color he didn't like,"
Alex said. 

There it stayed, for a while,
until Kay returned from a munch
bearing a black-and-blue striped afghan with
a white center stripe and a red heart in one corner.
"Kink pride," she explained, "and I also
brought a spare in case Dusty sleeps over."
The second one was the classic rainbow
of the gay pride flag, but done in zig-zag.

"Some of us are feeling a little left out,"
Bailey said, looking at Ash.
But Ash just shrugged.

Pat knitted a bisexual pride afghan for Bailey,
striped pink and purple and blue.
"Is  there even an asexual pride flag?" Bailey said.
"Give a guy time to buy more yarn," Pat said.
Before long, he presented Ash with an afghan
done in black, gray, white, and purple stripes.

One day Chris showed up and said,
"My cousin that nobody ever talks about
stayed the weekend and left this behind,"
he said.  "Momma told me to get it out of the house
or she'd light it on fire.  Any idea what it's for?"
He unfurled an afghan striped in shades of brown and gray
with a large black pawprint in one corner.

"Bear pride," Kay and Quinn chorused. 
"What does that even mean?" Chris asked.
"Gay men who like big butch guys with body hair," said Kay.
"You should invite your cousin to visit; he'd fit right in here."
Chris blinked at her.  "I'll ... think about it," he said.
"You do that," Kay said.  "Meanwhile, pull up some couch."

"I guess the straight guy gets the plain one,"
Chris said, picking up the ratty old blue afghan.
"Don't be silly," Pat said.  "Yours just isn't done yet."
He pulled out a half-finished wad of yarn,
pink-and-blue columns with a white heart in the center.

"What about Tim the Tentacle Monster?"
Bailey asked one rainy afternoon.
"He can share with me," Ash offered.
"Tim doesn't hog the blankets the way you do."
"I do not," Bailey protested.
"Do too," Alex said, and stuck out her tongue.

It way Kay who found the solution to that one.
"Look what I got at a yard sale!" she crowed,
dumping out something in a riot of colors.
There were stripes and granny squares,
zig-zags and little three-dimensional flowers.

"It's a box-bottom blanket," Pat said, grinning.
"Yup, and it makes absolutely no sense," Kay said.
"I think Tim will love it," Pat said,
and sure enough, Tim did.

"So how are we ever going to explain this
if someone asks about our decorating scheme?"
Alex asked, looking around the common room
where afghans sprawled in colorful array.
"We'll need a really good cover story."

"Yarn sale?" Pat suggested.
"Explosion in a paint factory," said Bailey.
"Spectrographic accident," said Alex.

"Sex and gender studies class project,"
Quinn said, "we've got it covered."
"You win," everyone agreed.

Tags: cyberfunded creativity, fishbowl, gender studies, poem, poetry, reading, science fiction, writing
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