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Poem: "The Most Room in Your Heart" - The Wordsmith's Forge
The Writing & Other Projects of Elizabeth Barrette
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Poem: "The Most Room in Your Heart"
This poem is spillover from the December 5, 2017 Poetry Fishbowl. It was inspired by prompts from [personal profile] technoshaman, [personal profile] alexseanchai, and [personal profile] janetmiles. It also fills the "guardian angel" square of my 12-3-17 card for the [community profile] genprompt_bingo fest. This poem has been sponsored by [personal profile] technoshaman. It belongs to the Damask thread of the Polychrome Heroics series.


"The Most Room in Your Heart"


There are two locks on the door
of the bedroom that once belonged
to Maisie and now belongs to
both Mallory and Dairinne.

One is a simple sliding latch,
high up toward eye level, and
the other one is the key lock in
the metal plate under the knob.

Mallory likes locks.

They are simple and
easy to understand.
They make boundaries
both clear and secure.

After all the time that
she spent sleeping on
the futon on the landing,
Mallory revels in having
a door that she can lock.

The problem is that
locks and babies
don't really mix.

Heron has impressed
on her that it's not safe
to hand over the baby,
lock her door, and then
fall asleep where nobody
could reach her in a crisis.

Nor is it particularly safe
for Mallory and Dairinne
to fall asleep together in
a locked room, just in case
something should go wrong.

And locking Dairinne in is
apparently right out, even though
it'd keep people from waking her up.

That leaves Mallory with a room
that can't (shouldn't) be locked,
and of course, in a house full of
college students, it means that
people barge in at awkward times.

After the time that Paige walks in
on them both completely starkers
because Dairinne had barfed on
Mallory and it was easier just
to shower off together and
Mallory hadn't gotten clothes
back on them yet, she's had it.

"I can't stand this," Mallory says
to Heron, waving her hands. "I don't
want to live in a house where I
can't lock my frigging door!"

"It's not the door, Mallory,
it's the baby," Heron says.

"I know, I know," she says,
"but if this happens again,
I swear to fuck I will start
boobytrapping my door.
There will be buckets."

"Mmm, let's see if we can
find a better solution than
that one," Heron says.

"Knock yourself out,"
Mallory mutters.

She wants to slam
the door in his face, but
that would definitely
wake up the baby.

How is this her life?

She used to be Farce,
a scary supervillain,
the terror of Urbanburg.

Now she's afraid
to slam her own door.

"You seem pretty upset,"
Heron says. "Do you want
to talk about it while I search?"

"It's just, there's so much more
that I have to do now," Mallory says.
"I don't mean just the practical stuff
like feeding and diapering. It's that
everyone wants me to talk about
the baby and give me advice
and it's all so exhausting."

"Emotional labor often is,"
Heron says. "Some of it
is necessary to maintain
relationships ... but you
should think about which
ones you truly care about."

"Not many," Mallory grumbles.
"You. Our housemates. I guess
your family doesn't totally suck."

"Thank you for that," he says,
and one corner of his mouth
curls into a faint smile.

"I just hope that you can
come up with something
to fix the door issue before
I snap," Mallory says.

"How about this?"
Heron asks, showing
her a product page on
his tablet computer.

It's one of those silly signs
like they have in hotels to
hang on your doorknob.

One side is pink and white
with a sleeping baby and it says,
Please do not disturb. The other
is blank whiteboard with a pen
clipped along one side of it.

"Really?" Mallory says,
raising her eyebrows.
"You think that'll work?"

"It will if I explain the situation
to our housemates," Heron says.
"It's better than a bucket of water
over the head, and they know it.
They'll treat 'Do not disturb' like
a lock except in an emergency."

Mallory snorts. "You're like
my own personal guardian angel,
or would be if I believed
in that sort of stuff."

"Well, you learned
to believe in me,"
Heron says. "That's
good enough for me."

"I need to have something
to hold onto, or I will go nuts,"
Mallory says. "I have baby things
spilling everywhere. How can someone
so tiny take up so much of my space?"

"I know new babies always require
some adjustment, but I'm still sorry
that you're having such a bad time
with this," Heron says, wrapping
his warm arms around her.

"It's not bad, it's just weird,"
Mallory says. "I feel like she's
taken over my whole life. It
drives me totally crazy, and
yet I love her so much, too.

Heron hugs her tight and says,
"Sometimes, the smallest things
take up the most room in your heart."

* * *

Notes:

"Sometimes, the smallest things take up the most room in your heart."
-- Winnie The Pooh, A.A. Milne

The master bedroom is the one with the ensuite.  It originally belonged to Maisie, who gave way to Damask, who passed it along to Mallory and Dairinne since a new baby has much need of a bathroom.

Door etiquette can get complicated, especially in a house shared with several housemates and a baby.

Door booby traps have their own trope, named for the bucket version. These instructions detail several methods. Watch videos for a tub of flour and funnel of water.

See Mallory's door sign. The front side is pink on top and bottom, white in the middle with a baby's face, and blue text says, "Please do not disturb." The back side is all blank whiteboard with a dry-erase pen clipped on one side to write messages.

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