Elizabeth Barrette (ysabetwordsmith) wrote,
Elizabeth Barrette
ysabetwordsmith

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Poem: "Power Play"

This poem is spillover from the March 18, 2014 Poetry Fishbowl.  It was inspired by a prompt from siliconshaman.  It also fills the "sports and games" square on my 1-31-14 card for the Origfic Bingo fest.  This poem has been sponsored by lb_lee.  It belongs to the series Polychrome Heroics.




Power Play


Parents always admonish their children
to be careful in the park, to play fair,
not to talk to strangers.

For some, that's enough.
For others, it's just the beginning --
the constant need for secrecy,
the pressure to hide something
that should be free and natural,
the grating fear of discovery.

The children find each other anyway,
their gifts slipping out in unguarded moments.

Erion notices that Variel barely changes
what she wears, regardless of the weather.
One winter day when their hands brush,
her skin feels cold and smooth,
but another time it's fuzzy.

Variel's mother urges her into her coat,
but it's already too late.

Later, when nobody's looking,
Erion shows Variel how he can
pass through solid objects.

It takes longer to notice Ansel,
because his gift is more subtle,
but eventually they realize that
he never scrapes himself no matter
how far he falls off of something,
as if his skin were armor.

They steal moments together,
slipping away from adult eyes
so they can play with their powers
and learn what each can do.

Variel likes dares --
trying to breathe water,
or touching a lit match.
One day they bury her in snow
instead of sand, and she grows fur.

They play tag with Erion
phasing through obstacles
that delay his pursuers.

They bounce things off of Ansel --
balls at first, then rocks and cans
and bits of broken glass from the garbage.

Most of the time they play ordinary games,
just getting to know each other,
friends having fun, but

sometimes they make new discoveries
and those are the best days.

* * *

Notes:

Variel Rivera -- Currently eight years old, Variel grew up in a toxic neighborhood. She has curly black hair, brown eyes, and café au lait skin.  She has mixed Hispanic heritage.
Origin: The playgrounds in her neighborhood were landscaped with contaminated sand that made some people sick, but gave superpowers to a few.
Qualities: Good (+2) Bilingual, Good (+2) Gymnast
Poor (-2) Sticking With It
Powers: Expert (+4) Adaptation

Erion Belushi -- Currently nine years old, Erion grew up in a toxic neighborhood.  He has wavy brown hair, gray eyes, and light olive skin.  His ancestry includes Albanian, Greek, Italian, and American.  He is tall for his age.
Origin: The playgrounds in his neighborhood were landscaped with contaminated sand that made some people sick, but gave superpowers to a few.
Qualities: Good (+2) Brave, Good (+2) Flute Player, Good (+2) Sense of Fairness
Poor (-2) Handling Money
Powers: Expert (+4) Phasing

Ansel Merle -- Currently seven years old, he grew up in a toxic neighborhood.  He has straight blond hair, blue eyes, and pale skin.  He already shows a sturdy build.  His father's side of the family is primarily French, with a bit of Swiss.  His maternal grandmother emigrated from Luxembourg, and his maternal grandfather is American.
Origin: The playgrounds in his neighborhood were landscaped with contaminated sand that made some people sick, but gave superpowers to a few.
Qualities: Good (+2) Patience, Good (+2) Sports
Poor (-2) Dyslexic
Powers: Expert (+4) Natural Armor

*   *   *

Children need basic safety rules and a sense of fair play.  Ideally adults should teach them how to make good rules.  That way, children can respond appropriately in situations where they don't know the rules, or there are none, or new rules are needed.

Secrecy is a natural part of human interaction and healthy boundaries.  However, keeping secrets can cause harm.  Understand the difference between safe and unsafe secrets.  Know the steps for sensible revealing.

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