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Poem: "Lateral Moves" - The Wordsmith's Forge
The Writing & Other Projects of Elizabeth Barrette
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ysabetwordsmith
Poem: "Lateral Moves"
This poem came out of the November 7, 2017 Poetry Fishbowl. It was inspired by prompts from Shirley Barrette and [personal profile] readera. It also fills the "decade" box in my 10-31-17 Time card for the Space and Time Bingo fest. This poem has been sponsored by Shirley Barrette. It belongs to the Fire and Ice thread of the Polychrome Heroics series.


"Lateral Moves"


When Fireheart first heard
that some snapper head
had knocked up his sister,
his first impulse was to find
the fellow's truck and turn it
into a steaming puddle of goo.

To everyone's surprise, though,
Logan promptly quit his job as
a lumberjack and bought a plot
right next to the reservation
where he proceeded to build
a handsome log cabin.

"Does he think that he
actually has a chance
with that?" Fireheart said.

"That is a magnificent log cabin,
Atka," said Luava, poking him in
the chest. "It has four bedrooms,
two upstairs and two in the basement.
It has three full bathrooms and even
a second laundry room downstairs.
I find it very attractive that Logan
has decided to court me by showing
what a good provider he could be."

Fireheart looked at the pictures again
and had to admit that was a fantastic cabin.

Possibly he owed Logan a new truck.

So Fireheart went around the reservation
to talk with the various male relatives who
had heartily cheered his destruction of
Logan's truck. Together they came up
with enough for a used van, which they
left parked in front of the cabin.

It was not lost on them that Logan
had hauled in enough gravel to make
a small parking lot by the cabin.

Perhaps he had an appreciation
of an extended family and large parties.

Certainly he had figured out that
being too forward would not work well,
and had cleverly resorted to lateral moves.

Not long after the cabin was completed,
Logan showed up and built a woodshed for
the Lecoeur grandparents, so they could
store firewood right next to their home.

When Luava saw that, she rode her horse
to Logan's place and invited him to dinner.

Fireheart listened to his grandparents
making a fuss over how generous and
industrious Logan was, and decided
that he had better get used to having
the fellow for a brother-in-law.

Luava was smiling instead of
frowning, though, and that was
what really mattered to Fireheart.

By the time Luava's son Miki was born,
Logan had become a favorite carpenter
throughout the tribe because as long as
he had enough money for necessities,
he would do other work for free.

It surprised Logan -- but not Fireheart --
when the welcoming feast for Miki drew
dozens of people from all across
the reservation, bringing gifts and
blessings for the new baby.

Fireheart had to admire what Logan
had made of his homestead. There was
space for a garden, and glass coldframes
to extend the short growing season, swings
and benches scattered around the yard, and
birdfeeders hanging near the windows.

The cabin itself was a work of art,
its door and window frames stained
with red ochre and many of its handles
made out of polished branches.
It would last for many decades.

The living room, dining room, and
kitchen all wrapped around the stairs,
providing plenty of space to gather.

The master bedroom had a huge bathroom
and a walk-in closet, while the nursery
was right next door, across the hall from
the common bathroom and utility room.

One downstairs bedroom had become
Luava's craft room for traditional embroidery
and other activities, much to the envy of
the other young women in the tribe.

The other was now Logan's office for
his growing construction business, which
had already added several of Fireheart's uncles,
cousins, and one particularly determined aunt.

The living room in the basement was
furnished with hide-a-bed couches,
a whole entertainment center, and
even a variety of gaming tables.

Fireheart looked around at
the crush of happy relatives and
decided that he was satisfied with
Logan's lateral move after all.

"You know, when I first heard
about Logan, I thought that he was
a waste of skin," Fireheart replied.

"What do you think now?" Luava said
as she bounced Miki on her hip.

A roar went up from the crowd.

Fireheart glanced over to see Logan
holding up plans for a new smokehouse.

"I think you're lucky to have him,"
Fireheart said to his sister.

* * *

Notes:

Fireheart (Atka Lecoeur) -- He has tinted skin, golden-brown eyes, and long straight black hair. His body temperature naturally runs around 100ºF and he needs extra calories to sustain his powers. His heritage is primarily Native Canadian (Inuit and Anishinaabeg) with a little French and British ancestry. He has worked as a wilderness guide and a counselor. He fell in love with Jackie Frost, and they have a daughter, Aurora, who is already showing superpowers.
Origin: As a teenager, Atka went camping with some friends, and a terrible storm blew up. They almost died of hypothermia, but then his Fire Powers manifested and saved everyone.
Uniform: Usually warm, durable clothes suitable for the wilderness.
Qualities: Expert (+4) Woodslore, Good (+2) Family Ties, Good (+2) Mediation, Good (+2) Cold Tolerance
Poor (-2) Not a City Boy
Powers: Expert (+4) Fire Powers, Good (+2) Phasing
Vulnerability: Copper shorts out his superpowers with a painful shower of sparks.
Motivation: Keep the home fires burning.

Luava Cote -- She has tinted skin, almond-shaped brown eyes, and long straight brown hair. Her round face and plump body make her extremely attractive by tribal standards. She is the sister of Fireheart (Atka Lecoeur), wife of Logan Cote, and mother of Miki Cote. Luava enjoys making traditional crafts, especially embroidery. After Logan built a log cabin to court her, Luava claimed one of the downstairs bedrooms for a craft room.
Qualities: Good (+2) Emotional Intelligence, Good (+2) Mother, Good (+2) Strength, Good (+2) Traditional Crafts, Good (+2) Tribal Virtues
Poor (-2) Low Alcohol Tolerance

Miki Cote -- He has tinted skin, brown eyes, and short black hair. He is the son of Luava and Logan Cote. They firmly consider him a surprise, not an accident. Now if they could just get him to do anything the same way twice or form a pattern in eating and sleeping.
Qualities: Good (+2) Serendipity
Poor (-2) Erratic Schedule

Logan Cote -- He has tinted skin, brown eyes, and short black hair. He has mixed Canadian heritage. He is the husband of Luava Cote and father of Miki Cote. After Luava got pregnant unexpectedly, Logan bought a plot of land next to the reservation and built a splendid log cabin in hopes of securing her favor. It worked, and won over her relatives as well.
Qualities: Good (+2) Carpenter, Good (+2) Family Man, Good (+2) Generosity, Good (+2) Kinesthetic Intelligence, Good (+2) Strength
Poor (-2) No Higher Education

* * *

See the exterior of Logan's cabin under construction. Here are floor plans for the main floor and basement.

Here you can see a large plot cleared for a garden, along with several cold frames made from old windows. This is another style of coldframe made from salvaged windows.

This is the kind of firewood shed that Logan built for the grandparents Lecoeur.

Here is the smokehouse that everyone is drooling over. It is straightforward to build, and sure to be popular in a society where many people hunt for food. Sliver your deer or elk, hang it in there, and you don't need to stand around shooing flies while it turns into jerky.

Snapper head -- dick head
-- YouSwear Canadian

Unplanned pregnancy poses a challenge to everyone involved. Consider your options carefully. Some people find positive outcomes from it.

Generosity is a fundamental virtue in many tribal societies, and part of the Native American/Aboriginal Canadian culture of giving. It's not materialism; in fact, it's nearly the opposite. Wealth is measured by what you share or give away, not what you hoard, and a good provider is looked upon with great favor.

Traditional courtship varies greatly from one tribe to another. Many of these customs called for the groom to give many presents to a girl's parents and other relatives to make up for her loss (in a patriarchal tribe) or assure them that he's worthy of joining the family (in a matriarchal tribe). This distinction has blurred somewhat in modern times, but it remains true that a hard worker who is generous in his gifts is likely to be well received.

Red ochre is a sacred mineral used by many tribes. It is widely consider to have blessing and protective qualities -- that is, nothing will be getting through those windows or doors that shouldn't be. Red ochre is popular as a homemade stain, and believe me, that color is permanent.

That guy is a waste of skin. -- Describing a useless idiot.
-- YouSwear Canadian

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