Elizabeth Barrette (ysabetwordsmith) wrote,
Elizabeth Barrette

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Poem: "Broken Boughs"

This is today's freebie. It was inspired by an earlier prompt from [personal profile] stardreamer. It also fills the "panic attack" square in my 6-1-15 card for the June Relationship Bingo fest. This poem belongs to the Danso & Family thread of the Polychrome Heroics series. It comes before "The Natural State of Motherhood."

WARNING: This poem contains topics that may be upsetting to some readers. Highlight for the warnings, some of which are spoilers. Faramundo is having severe relationship problems, primarily due to internalized oppression. He can't cope with the fact that his daughter has superpowers, because he has one that he tries never to use. So when a tree almost falls on him, it kicks on reflexively, then he freaks out and has a panic attack. Faramundo is just slowly losing his shit. If these are touchy subjects for you, consider your tastes and headspace before reading onward.

"Broken Boughs"

Faramundo stalked down the sidewalk,
trying and failing to clear his head.

It was a warm spring day, if blustery
in a way that made him think of the lullabye.
He hummed the melody, hoping to soothe himself.

Rock-a-bye baby, in the treetop,
When the wind blows, the cradle will rock

He had attempted to explain to Amada
why the current situation bothered him so much --
they had a life to get back to, the boys' school
and his own job that wouldn't wait forever,
all of which was true but not complete.

His wife didn't sympathize with him.
All her attention went to their daughter.
They were supposed to visit her again tomorrow,
and Faramundo didn't really want to -- couldn't
want to, if he was honest with himself.

He had wanted a daughter so very badly,
had adored her when she arrived,
right up to the moment she poofed away
from them, revealing her true nature.

When the bough breaks, the cradle will fall,
And down will come baby, cradle and all

Faramundo didn't know how to love
someone who wasn't normal,
maybe even not quite ... human.

A chainsaw growled nearby,
interrupting his train of thought.
Workmen were trimming the trees
that lined the sides of the street.

A splintering crack echoed overhead, and
Faramundo had only an instant to see
the big tree cleave in two, its rotten heart
giving way as half of it rushed toward him.

The world skipped out --

skipped back --

and Faramundo was standing,
perfectly unharmed, just beyond
where the tree had crashed to the ground.

That hadn't happened to him in years.

He couldn't breathe.
He couldn't move.
He couldn't think.

Then his legs broke free
and carried him away.

Blocks later, Faramundo finally skidded
to a halt, chest heaving, eyes streaming,
pressing himself against a building
in futile attempt to regain control.

It had happened again.
He couldn't deny it now.

Desperate, he pushed down
the treacherous thoughts.
He was imagining things.
He had to be. That was all.

Nothing had really happened.
A tree broke. He got out of the way.
He had just ... jumped, that was it,
jumped back from the falling tree.
He had been lucky to survive.

He wasn't a freak. He wasn't.
There was nothing wrong with him.
Everything could go back to normal now.

Except it didn't.

* * *


Coping techniques such as music can assist in self-soothing. Faramundo actually tries to use healthy coping skills; they just aren't enough to overcome all the stress in his life right now. Learn how to build better coping skills.

"Rock-a-Bye Baby" is a traditional lullaby.

Marital problems can come from many causes. Having a child with a disability can put major stress on a marriage, and when a parent views superpowers in a negative light, that has similar effects. However, that's just the proximate issue. The root of the matter is Faramundo's internalized oppression. Understand how to address relationship challenges.

A tree can look fine outside but be hollow inside, and sometimes they can shatter when cut. Look for warning signs.

Teleportation is among the more common superpowers in Terramagne. Traveling very short distances like this is sometimes called "skipping."

Anyone can have a panic attack, especially after a stressful experience. When they happen frequently and/or without a credible threat present, enough to disrupt everyday life, that becomes panic disorder. There are many ways to stop panic attacks and deal with panic disorder.

Denial is a defense mechanism which protects people from overwhelming facts. As a temporary means to buy breathing room, it can be beneficial; in the long run, it turns harmful. Know how to break through someone's denial or overcome your own.

Internalized oppression happens when someone believes terrible things about a group to which they belong. It leads to self-hatred and/or discrimination. As a trope, this is Boomerang Bigot. A soup who hates superpowers is called a spork. Faramundo has that and internalized racism. There are ways to heal from internalized oppression.
Tags: creative jam, cyberfunded creativity, ethnic studies, fantasy, poem, poetry, reading, weblit, writing
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