Elizabeth Barrette (ysabetwordsmith) wrote,
Elizabeth Barrette
ysabetwordsmith

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Poem: "House of Cards"

This was the linkback perk for the December 2, 2014 Poetry Fishbowl, originally hosted by Dialecticdreamer.  Either I missed posting it here, or the blogware ate it, so here it is again.  It came out of the November 4, 2016 Poetry Fishbowl.  It belongs to the Danso and Family thread of the Polychrome Heroics series.


"House of Cards"


Lakia was getting heartily sick of Emma,
who had spent the whole day trying to get hold
of Lakia's tail where it wrapped around her waist
and teasing Lakia for keeping it so tight.

Lakia was tempted to give her a zap with it,
but then it would be be Lakia getting in trouble
and Emma laughing at her all over again,
so that was no improvement at all.

But a girl who'd grown up in the streets
knew things that a house girl didn't.
Lakia put her chin on her hands and waited.

When Emma and Sophie started
to build a house of cards,
the tip of Lakia's tail flicked once.

Emma usually won that game,
and Sophie was almost as good.
Lakia envied how steady
the other girls' hands could be.

Emma and Sophie covered the top
of Emma's desk in careful layers.

As they began the third layer,
Lakia crept up behind them and
aimed a tiny spark at the desk.

Cards flew everywhere.

"Mrs. Wilson!" yelled Emma,
waving her hand in the air.
"Lakia knocked down
our house of cards!"

"I didn't touch it," Lakia said.

"She used her superpower,"
Sophie hissed.

"Lakia? Is that true?"
Mrs. Wilson asked.

"Emma's been bugging me
about my tail all day,"
Lakia said, crossing her arms.
"I thought she wanted  to see
how it worked. So I showed her."

To her amazement,
Emma burst into giggles.
"That was a pretty great trick!" she said.
"You wanna help us build a new house?"

"Um ... okay," Lakia said,
wondering why someone
who'd been picking on her
for weeks suddenly wanted
to act like friends.

"Good job solving the dispute
on your own, girls," said Mrs. Wilson,
and left them to it.

Lakia helped gather up
the scattered cards,
and Emma showed her
how to lean them together
just so  to make them stay.

Apparently it helped if you
put your elbows on the desk
while you stacked the cards.

But the question still niggled at her
until Lakia finally gave up and just asked,
"Why're you being nice to me now?"

Emma gave her a sidelong look and said,
"I really did want to see what you
could do with your tail. I just ...
didn't know how to ask."

"Oh," Lakia said. "Do you want to play at recess?
I'm trying to learn how to catch things with my tail.
Mr. Keaner brings me the rings for it."

"Sure," Emma said. "I love ring toss games."

It turned out that Emma also loved playing outside,
picking raspberries, catching bugs and
dropping them down the backs of boys' shirts.

Lakia was pretty sure that if she put a bug
down any of her brothers' shirts, she'd
get stuck cleaning the house instead of playing,
but it still sounded like a lot of fun.

Even though Lakia thought that Emma
would 'forget' about her come recess,
the other girl bounded right up --
with Sophie in tow behind her --
and held out a hand for
the colorful plastic rings.

It felt weird having friends,
but Lakia kind of liked it.

* * *

Notes:

Emma Matthews -- She has tawny-fair skin, hazel eyes, and wavy brown hair that falls to her shoulders. She lives in Onion City. She is six years old, in the same class as Lakia Collins. She is friends with Sophie Bergstrom. Emma starts out teasing Lakia, but eventually they make friends too.
Qualities: Good (+2) Dexterity, Good (+2) Nature Lover
Poor (-2) Pranks People

Sophie Bergstrom -- She has pale skin, dark blue eyes, and long straight blonde hair. She lives in Onion City. She is six years old, in the same class as Lakia Collins. She is friends with Emma Matthews, and it's easy for Emma to talk Sophie into doing things that aren't really a good idea.
Qualities: Good (+2) Cute, Good (+2) Reader
Poor (-2) Easily Led Astray

* * *

A house of cards may be built using a square or triangular pattern.

Static electricity can do some interesting tricks with paper.

Some children do not learn social skills easily.  This can happen for many reasons; in Lakia's case, neglect and bad foster care have left her with poor social skills.  Even though she's in a better family now, that damage is already done and taking a while to repair.  Here are some tips for teaching social skills to slow learners.

Tags: cyberfunded creativity, education, family skills, fishbowl, life lessons, poem, poetry, reading, writing
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