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The Wordsmith's Forge
The Writing & Other Projects of Elizabeth Barrette
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ysabetwordsmith
Poem: "What It Means to Me"
This poem is spillover from the July 16, 2019 Poetry Fishbowl. It is the second freebie thanks to new prompter [personal profile] lilliane and two Anonymous prompters. It also fills the "Winter Soldier" square in my 7-1-19 card for the Winterfest in July Bingo. This poem belongs to the series Love Is For Children.


"What It Means to Me"


The future is confusing and unfamiliar.

There is so much that Bucky has forgotten,
so much that has changed beyond recognition.

There are things he used to have that he
hasn't had in so long that now he doesn't
even know them when he sees them,
can't recall what they used to mean.

He tries to hide it. Of course he does.

Steve makes the worried face
whenever Bucky can't remember.

So Bucky gives vague replies
and tries to spackle over
the gaping holes in his mind.

There's another look, though,
that isn't pity or regret, and
Bucky can't pin it down.

He sees it in the strangest places,
not just the physical therapy room
or the gym when he's pushing hard,
but sometimes in the common room too,
or even from total strangers on the street.

People look at him, give him a little nod and
a smile, then go back to what they were doing.

It's strange, and Bucky doesn't understand it.
He doesn't know why people are looking at him
like this, what he's done to deserve it.

He doesn't know why it gives him
a funny flutter in his stomach, and
he's not sure if he likes it or not.

But it's there. It's there, and he
keeps seeing it everywhere.

Bucky doesn't understand it
until he walks in on Betty with
her hair up in a do-rag, dancing
across the wet kitchen floor and
singing to the mop as she cleans,
while JARVIS croons the backup.

The words take his breath away.

R-E-S-P-E-C-T
Find out what it means to me
R-E-S-P-E-C-T
Take care, TCB


Bucky clutches the door
with his flesh hand so that he
doesn't fall over or break anything.

Oh. Oh. So that's what it is!
That's the look he's been
seeing on people's faces.

It's respect.

He hasn't seen it
in so long that he'd
forgotten what it
even looked like,
what it meant to him.

Forgotten that
people need it like
they need air or water.

Forgotten that it feels like
sunshine and Steve's smile,
warm and complete.

Betty doesn't coddle him.

Betty grins and tosses him
another mop and says, "Come on,
soldier, show me what you got!"

Bucky catches the mop.
He sucks in a deep breath
of something as needful as air.

He learns that he still remembers
how to dance, how to mop a floor ...

how to learn a new tune.

* * *

Notes:

Alexithymia is difficulty identifying emotions in self and/or others. Emotional agnosia is difficulty interpreting body language, voice tone, and other clues to derive information about feelings. These limitations make social life much more challenging. Many people with traumatic brain injury, or other neurological problems, suffer from some such impairment. Learn how to cope with fogged emotions and post-TBI issues.

Respect is a need. Here are some ways to show respect.

"Respect" is a song Otis Redding, but the version most people know came from Aretha Franklin.

R-E-S-P-E-C-T
Find out what it means to me
R-E-S-P-E-C-T
Take care, TCB


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