Elizabeth Barrette (ysabetwordsmith) wrote,
Elizabeth Barrette
ysabetwordsmith

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Poem: "When You Have to Go There"

This poem came out of the November 5, 2013 Poetry Fishbowl.  It was inspired by a prompt from Dreamwidth user Chanter_greenie.  It also fills the "jealous lover" square in my 8-13-13 card for the Ladies Bingo fest.  This poem has been sponsored by technoshaman.  It belongs to the Schrodinger's Heroes project.


When You Have to Go There


Dusty showed up at the Teflon Tesseract
unannounced and unhappy
and obviously in need of a place to stay.

"Welcome back," Kay said.
Quinn hugged Dusty and added,
"Welcome home."

"What seems to be the problem?"
Bailey asked.  "Is it anything
that we need to worry about?"

"No, it's just personal stuff,"
Dusty said.  "My girlfriend
is getting jealous and possessive
and it's starting to bother me.
I need to get away for a while."

"You can stay here as long as you need,"
Ash offered, typing away on her laptop.
"Give me a few minutes, and I'll find
a suitable alternate dimension for you
just in case your girlfriend shows up
and you need to duck out the back door."

"Thanks," Dusty said to them
as she settled onto the couch and
wrapped herself in the rainbow afghan.
"That helps a lot."


They weren't even in their home dimension
the next time this sort of thing happened.
It's Vic trying to console himself
over a submissive who dumped him,
and having trouble because everything
at home reminded him of what he has lost.

"Come stay with us for a while,"
Quinn invited, and at first
it's just their hotel room on the mission
but then Vic followed them back
to the Teflon Tesseract.

"It's strange to think of a whole world
full of undifferentiated people," Vic said,
because in his dimension, everyone
identified as dom or sub or occasionally switch
and the undifferentiated were very rare.

"Think of this as taking a little vacation
from the vagaries of erotic rank,"
Kay suggested to him.

"That sounds most welcome,"
Vic agreed.


Chris walked into the common room
while talking on his cell phone.
"Yes, you can stay with me.
Yes, I'm sure.  It's a little weird here
but we got plenty of spare room.
See you when you get here."
He snapped the phone closed.

Everyone was looking at him.
"So my cousin Art got into a big argument
with his mom and my mom and, well,
basically the rest of the family," Chris said.

"I'll go make sure we've got a guest room ready,"
Morgan said as she hurried out the door.
"It's no trouble to put on some extra food,"
Pat said, heading for the kitchen.

When Art arrived, he turned out to be
big and hairy like Chris, although
honey-brown instead of golden-blond.
Unlike Chris, he seemed determined
to make himself smaller instead of bigger.
"So, uh, howdy," he said nervously.

"Howdy," Kay said.  "Chris hasn't told us
much about you, but we're glad to have you here."
"I believe this belongs to you," Quinn said,
holding out the brown-striped afghan
with the bear pawprint in one corner.

"Yeah," Art said softly, his eyes misting over
as he cuddled the thick bundle to his chest.
"It's real good of you to put me up on short notice."

"Anytime," Chris said.
"That's what family is for."


This is what it means to them, all of them,
to be a team and a family,
to keep watch over a compound
where quantum physics can melt down
the barriers between here and elsewhere,
to stand up when the world needs saving
or not the world but one person at a time.

This is what it means to choose to be
the place and the people where,
when you have to go there,
they have to take you in.

* * *

Notes:

"Home is where, when you have to go there, they have to take you in."
"The Death of the Hired Man" by Robert Frost (1874–1963).  North of Boston.  1915.

Dusty and Vic are introduced in the cast list.

The various afghans are explained in the previous poem "Cover Stories."

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