Elizabeth Barrette (ysabetwordsmith) wrote,
Elizabeth Barrette

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Poem: "Merely an Exaggeration"

This poem came out of the November 6, 2018 Poetry Fishbowl. It was inspired by a prompt from rix_scaedu. It also fills the "violent behavior" square in my 11-5-18 card for the Family Ties Bingo fest. This poem has been sponsored by Soupshue. It belongs to the series One God's Story of Mid-Life Crisis.

"Merely an Exaggeration"

Not long after services,
Churel lost his temper and
punched Prell in the face.

Prell grabbed the nearest bottle
(there was never any shortage
of bottles in Shaeth's temple)
and bashed him over the head.

Both of them were bloody and
yelling when Shaeth got there.

"Enough," he said quellingly,
and they stopped to stare at him.

"I'll get a broom," Eshne said.

"Tell me what happened,"
Shaeth ordered Churel. "It will
go easier for you if you tell me
than if I have to drag it out of you."

The man bit his lip and refused.

"Very well," Shaeth said. He used
a spell to wring the truth out of
Churel's mind, leaving the man
gasping and miserable.

It had been a petty argument;
Prell had only asked Churel
to help mop the chapel floor.

Shaeth heaved a sigh.
Drunks would be drunks.

He reached out and
sealed the long cuts on
Churel's scalp, but did not
heal them completely.

"Go wash," he commanded.

Churel slunk away without
daring to argue about it.

(Well, that was a relief.)

"Prell, would you like
to add anything to that?"
Shaeth asked tenderly.

"I shouldn't ha' hit hi' 'ack,"
she mumbled, the split lip
slurring her words. "Sorry."

"Penitence accepted,"
Shaeth said. "Come here.
I know what just happened.
I'd like you to show me why."

Prell came to him, hesitant
but not afraid of Shaeth.

He reached in gently this time,
slipping past the fresh bruises on
her soul to see where it had all started.
She'd hit Churel because that was
simply what her family did.

"I don't 'ant to 'e like that,"
Prell said, her face crumpling.

"You aren't like him, and you are
learning to be less like your parents,"
Shaeth said. "Hold onto that."

Then he conjured rum to wet
his fingers. Carefully he cleaned
the split lip while Prell whimpered.

"Shh, almost done," Shaeth soothed.
He healed the small wound as
if it had never been there.

"Thank you, my lord," Prell said,
leaning against him. "You are
everything I could have asked for.
I would be lost without you."

"And where would I be without
my followers?" Shaeth replied.
"Go and finish the mopping."

Prell picked up the spilled bucket
and went to fetch more water.

(Someone would have to take
Churel's share of the chores
out of his hide later on.)

"Never a dull day dealing
with drunks," Shaeth mused.

"This would be easier,"
Eshne grumbled as she
swept up the broken glass, "if
alcohol had more consistent effects."

"Alcohol is perfectly consistent in
its effects upon man," Shaeth said.
"Drunkenness is merely an exaggeration.
A foolish man drunk becomes maudlin;
a coarse man, vulgar; a bloody man, vicious."

"And a god?" Eshne said lightly, teasing him
while she poured broken glass into the bin.

"It makes him patient," Prell said as she
returned to mopping the floor, "and kind."

"Who knew," Shaeth said, surprised at himself.

* * *


"Alcohol is perfectly consistent in its effects upon man. Drunkenness is merely an exaggeration. A foolish man drunk becomes maudlin; a bloody man, vicious; a coarse man, vulgar."
Willa Cather, "On the Divide", The Troll Garden

Alcohol has many effects on people, including increased violence and family dysfunction. These issues can linger in adults who grew up in alcohol-affected homes. There are ways to overcome that past.
Tags: cyberfunded creativity, family skills, fantasy, fishbowl, poem, poetry, reading, safety, spirituality, weblit, writing
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