Elizabeth Barrette (ysabetwordsmith) wrote,
Elizabeth Barrette

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Poem: "Shouldermates"

This poem came out of the December 3, 2013 Poetry Fishbowl.  It was inspired by a prompt from ellenmillion.  It also fills the "branding" square in my 8-12-13 card for the Hurt/Comfort Bingo fest.  This poem has been sponsored by catsittingstill.  It belongs to the series Fledgling Grace.


The littlest angel
wanted to help too,
but was far too small
to become a guardian angel.

So she climbed onto the shoulder
of a young human and
began giving advice.

Before long,
a tiny devil appeared,
and he took up residence
on the opposite shoulder.

Sometimes the human
listened to one of them,
sometimes to the other.

The shoulder-angel
and the shoulder-devil
argued all the time,
but even so, they came
to admire each other's tenacity.

One day their human declared,
"I've decided to become an atheist,"
and brushed them both off
like so much lint.

They crashed to the ground,
stunned by the sudden rejection
and the pain of falling.
They both landed badly,
the angel with a broken wing,
the devil with a twisted ankle.

"Come, lean on me," said the angel
as she lifted the devil to his feet.
Everywhere they touched,
their skin burned,
light and dark energy
annihilating each other --
but it was better than being alone.

"Don't let go of me," said the devil,
clinging to her with his tiny claws.
"I won't," she promised, and she didn't.

They left handprints all over
each other's shoulders and back,
branded into skin and singed into feathers,
but they didn't care.
At least they still had each other.

They fell asleep that way,
huddled on a park bench
like a pair of chipmunks curled together.

They were still there
when a woman who wanted to be a mother
sat down on top of them
and swallowed them into her soul
without even knowing it.

When the twins were born,
everyone exclaimed over the birthmarks
blotched red over their small bodies.

Their mother scoffed at the onlookers
and said, "Who cares what they look  like?
Look at how happy  they are together!"

And for the first time since they lost their perch,
they had someone else to love besides each other.

* * *


The pattern of positive and negative energy canceling each other -- sometimes violently -- appears in physics, metaphysics, and entertainment.  Thus celestial and infernal forces tend to be mutually harmful.  However, a hallmark of this setting is that Love outweighs polarity.

Birthmarks appear in many different forms.  Some people believe they are caused by something that happened to the mother and/or baby prior to birth, or even in a past life.  In any case, it is rude to make an issue over birthmarks.

Tags: cyberfunded creativity, fantasy, fishbowl, poem, poetry, reading, spirituality, weblit, writing
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