Elizabeth Barrette (ysabetwordsmith) wrote,
Elizabeth Barrette

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Poem: "Early Days"

This poem is spillover from the March 18, 2014 Poetry Fishbowl. It was inspired by a prompt from [personal profile] janetmiles. It also fills the "parent(s)" square on my 3-6-14 card for the [community profile] origfic_bingo fest. This poem has been sponsored by an anonymous donor. It belongs to the series Polychrome Heroics.

WARNING: This is a horror poem. It is nightmare fuel. It is about things that can go wrong when superpowers manifest in infancy or early childhood. If you are a parent or work with small children, think three times before reading onward.

"Early Days"

People tend to think of superpowers
as something acquired later in life --
a freak accident, a mark of survival,
or even a hand-me-down artifact.

Those born with exceptional gifts
tend to manifest them at puberty,
but that's not always when it happens.
Some abilities arrive in the early days.

There are stories of empaths and telepaths
born open to the hearts and minds of others.
When babies cry constantly, parents hover,
and hope that it's only colic.

A beam of anything can do
super-scale damage to a nursery,
and infants have little control
over their flailing limbs.
If what you get is a thrown cup
breaking a vase, be grateful.

It's hard enough to get a helium balloon
off the ceiling, let alone a baby
who just learned how to fly.
Terrified parents look up
at the huge blue sky and whisper,
"Thank God it didn't happen outdoors."

To an infant with phasing,
baby gates are irrelevant.
You can't even catch them by hand
to keep them from tumbling down the stairs.

Without control, transformation
changes everything it touches,
every meal turning into a mad tea party.

But those aren't the things
that parents fear the most,
not the ones that send them
to stand for hours in a darkened room
watching their little ones sleep.

The worst nightmares come from
gifts like invisibility and teleportation:
the heart-gnawing fear that
your child will disappear
between one moment and the next,
never to be seen again.
Tags: cyberfunded creativity, fantasy, fishbowl, horror, poem, poetry, reading, weblit, writing
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