Elizabeth Barrette (ysabetwordsmith) wrote,
Elizabeth Barrette

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Poem: "Already Where You Want to Be"

This poem is spillover from the July 16, 2019 Poetry Fishbowl. It was inspired by a prompt from [personal profile] starbit. It also fills the "question" square in my 4-1-19 card for the School Days Bingo fest. This poem has been sponsored by a pool with [personal profile] fuzzyred. It belongs to the Shiv thread of the Polychrome Heroics series. It follows "The Scars on the Mind," "The Worst Word in the Dictionary," and "The So-Called Truths" so read those first or this won't make much sense.

"Already Where You Want to Be"

[Monday, April 6, 2015]

Shiv wakes to a faint smell of coffee.

His head feels simultaneously
stuffed with cotton and wired.
It's not as bad as it was before
Heron fixed him, but still not good.

A soft knock patters against his door.
"Shiv? Are you awake?" Heron says.

Groaning, Shiv pushes himself up.
"M'wake," he mumbles. "Gimme minute."

He hurries through his bathroom routine,
throws on some clothes, and then
stumbles out of his bedroom.

Instantly the smell of coffee
intensifies, making his mouth water.

"Whaddaya want?" Shiv says,
blinking up at Heron.

"I could feel your distress,"
Heron murmurs, guiding him
into the kitchen. "I figured you
must be close to waking up.
Do you want me to fix it?"

"Please," Shiv says, leaning
against Heron. He feels
too awful to argue.

Heron cups the back
of his neck, and slowly
Shiv's head settles back
toward something like normal.

"Do you want breakfast?"
Heron asks. "I made coffee
and toast for starters."

"Gimme coffee," Shiv says,
pawing at the air, and Heron
pushes a warm mug into his hands.

"Start with something sweet; that
will help you feel better," Heron says,
nudging a plate of buttered toast
toward him. Jars of jam and
honey sit on the table.

Shiv guzzles coffee,
hot but not too hot, then
tries and fails to open
the jar of honey.

Heron takes it gently
and spreads honey
on the toast for him.

The taste of it is bright
and sweet. That plus
the coffee goes a long way
toward waking Shiv up.

"Thanks," Shiv says.
"Sorry for being so ..."
His voice trails away.

"Don't worry about it,"
Heron says, waving off
the apology. "I have been
catching up on class reading."

Shiv is in no mood to wait
for breakfast to cook, and
doesn't have enough brain
to work the stove anyway.

He grabs a box of Motion
from the open shelves and
a bowl from the cabinet, then
turns around to see Heron
setting the milk onto the table.

"Want some?" Shiv says belatedly.

"Sure, I like multigrain cereals,"
Heron says, getting himself a bowl.

"Yeah, it's got oat, wheat, and corn flakes
plus dried fruit," Shiv says. "I like it because
it's similar to the hot cereal blends only
I don't gotta wait for it to cook."

The cereal is crunchy and filling,
and it will stick to his ribs longer
than just toast with honey.

"I am at your service today,
whatever you need," Heron says.

Shiv can totally imagine him
barging into a hobbit's hole and
proclaiming, "Heron, at your service."
The thought makes him smile.

"I dunno," Shiv says. "I guess,
keep my brain turned down so
it doesn't drive me batshit?
But that won't work forever."

"If you'll entertain a little of
my professional input, I have
some ideas," Heron offers.

"Like what?" Shiv asks,
scrunching his face.

"Did you know that
I have trained as
a physical therapist?"
Heron asks him.

"No, I thought it was
massage," Shiv says,
crunching into his cereal.

"That's a big part of it, but
not all of it," Heron says.
"I also know a lot of ways
to make bodies work better."

"Good luck with that," Shiv mutters.

"You're not broken, Shiv, you just
need time for your body and mind
to get back in synch," Heron says.
"I think there are exercises that
could make that go faster."

"Guess it can't hurt to try,"
Shiv says. "This sucks."

Heron finishes the last of
his cereal, then carries
his bowl to the sink.

"What are you doing?"
Shiv asks, staring at him.

"The dishes." Heron looks
over his shoulder. "Should I not?
If I messed up your system, I'm sorry."

"I meant, why are you bothering
to do my dishes?" Shiv says.

"I want to be a good guest, and
I'm not sure if you want to handle
slippery glass just yet," Heron replies.

"Oh ... good point," Shiv says.
He hands his cereal bowl to Heron,
who washes it and puts it in the rack.

"Come on, let's go back to the living room,"
Heron says, and Shiv follows him willingly.

They sit down on the futon. Heron is
closer than Shiv usually likes, but today
that new feeling flutters and hums
under his skin, hungry for something
that Shiv doesn't understand.

"I would like to start out with
some brain mapping, if you don't
mind," Heron says. "I think you'll adapt
better if you can 'see' what's going on."

Shiv hesitates. He doesn't like people
messing with him. Right now, though,
he knows that he needs the help.

Besides, Heron has touched him
before, and it hasn't hurt, or felt
unbearably intrusive to him.

"Okay," Shiv says. "Show me."

This time, Shiv is awake enough
to notice Heron twisting off his rings
before lifting a hand to Shiv's neck.

A moment's heat, and then Shiv can
sense things inside his own head.

He reaches for the memory of
what Dr. Infanta had shown him,
the overlay of different colors.

"I want to show you the settings,"
Heron says. "Think of your brain
kind of like a big switchboard. It
used to look like this." The image
shifts, feeling old and familiar to Shiv.
"Then after the repairs, it looked like this."
Lightning flickers in a swift dance. "Today,
I've damped it down for you, like so."

"Mmm-huh," Shiv mumbles,
watching the changes unfold.

"What I'd like to do is set it
just a little faster than yesterday,
then let it float up slowly so that
you can get used to it without
feeling so uncomfortable,"
Heron says. "Is that okay?"

"Yeah," Shiv says, feeling
warm and lazy. His brain
kicks up a notch, and he
shifts, restless. "Fuck. I'm
too dumb to go this fast!"

"What holds most people back
isn’t the quality of their ideas, but
their lack of faith in themselves,"
Heron says firmly. "You have
to live your life as if you are
already where you want to be."

Shiv feels fizzy and strange, but
Heron is right there grounding him,
and after a minute the sensation fades
until he feels almost normal again.

"I guess ... my life is better than
it ever was before, so I don't know
where to push it forward," Shiv said.

"How about just getting comfortable
with your new acuity?" Heron says.

"Sure," says Shiv, not knowing
what 'acuity' means but guessing
it has something to do with
his new improved brain.

"Let's check vision next,"
Heron says. "How's that?"

Shiv looks around the room,
trying not to squint. "I think I'm
getting used to how sharp it is --
I don't feel like I'm looking at
everything through a telescope --
but it's still a bit too bright."

"When in doubt, start with
practical solutions," Heron says.
He gets up and closes the curtains,
which dims the living room
to a more bearable level.

Shiv looks around the room.
"Yeah, that's a lot better," he says.

"Good," Heron says. "Take stock.
How does everything feel now?"

"Okay ... okay, I think I got a handle on
this," Shiv says. "Show me your exercises."

"I sent Junket to pick up my bags." Heron
reaches down beside the futon and comes up
with one that says Physical Therapy on the side.

He starts taking things out of the bag -- books,
binders, balls, cups of putty, coins in a tube,
stretchy bands, card games, small board games,
clothespins, a tablet computer, a bin of fidgets,
several puzzles of different challenge levels,
and all kinds of other interesting things.

Shiv's previous experiences with therapy
have been absolute shit up until Dr. G,
but something tells him that Heron
is a chip off the old block.

When Shiv reaches for the pile,
though, Heron holds up a hand.

"We're going to be pushing
your boundaries today, so you'll
probably get a headache at some point,"
Heron says. "I want you to tell me
when that happens, so that I
can take care of it for you."

"You can't tell?" Shiv says,
frowning. "But you knew
when I was waking up."

"Yes, I can tell what
your nerves are doing,"
Heron says. "I can't tell
exactly how that feels
to you. People can have
different pain thresholds."

"Oh, okay," Shiv says.
"I guess I can try? I'm not
used to spilling like that."

"This is for your comfort,"
Heron reminds him. "If you
really hate the idea, you can
always take some Blue instead."

"And knock myself flat for the day?"
Shiv says, shaking his head. "Druther not."

"Do you have any questions?" Heron asks.
"I'll try to explain anything you need."

"Why are you doing this?" Shiv blurts.
"I mean, you don't have to coddle me."

"I like taking care of people," Heron says.
"I want you to be healthy and happy.
This helps with that. Anything else?"

"Uh, no," Shiv says, his mind
squirming away from the ideas.

"Then let's explore this instead,"
Heron says. "We'll start with
simple, easy things to give you
a grasp of your new visual input.
Here, try this on for size."

Heron passes Shiv
a tin of thinking putty.

Shiv wrinkles his nose,
but tries to open it.

"I'm not fond of clay --
ooo, it's shiny!" he says.

The base color is black,
but the surface shimmers
with green and gold highlights
as Shiv pries it out of the tin.

"That's the Oilslick," Heron says.
"It's softer than the other ones, and
its colors really do look like spilled oil.
I've got some color-changing ones
and glow-in-the-dark too."

"It's kinda pretty," Shiv says,
stretching it in his fingers.

"That's the idea," Heron says.
"You can watch the colors shift
and pay attention how that feels
in your head, how your vision works."

Shiv wonders what it would look like in
brighter light. "Maybe crack the curtains?"

"Sure," Heron says. He opens the curtains
just a fingerwidth, letting in more light.

Shiv holds the putty in the sun
and watches the colors dance
into swirls of green and gold.

"I carry putty for hand exercises
and as a fidget," Heron says. "So I
have several colors of thinking putty,
and then therapy putty whose colors
tell you how stiff it feels in your hand."

"That's cool," Shiv says. He explores
the other tins of thinking putty, laughing
at the ones that change colors in his hands.

"Feel how your fingers move in the putty,"
Heron coaches. "Move them one at a time.
Think about how long it takes them to get
wherever you told them to go next."

Squishing the putty is a lot less scary
than trying to use his trainer and dropping it,
and less frustrating than fucking up on the sax.

This is just putty. It isn't gross and sticky
like clay -- smooth, almost slippery in fact --
and the colors are so pretty that Shiv
wants to keep playing to see them shift.

He keeps at it long enough that the sun
has moved before he puts the stuff away.

Then he looks up at Heron. "Now what?"

"Let's try something for finer dexterity,"
Heron says, pushing the coins toward him.
"Use your fingers, not your superpower.
Pick up the coins one at a time and then
move them to form another stack."

There are quarters, dimes, and nickels
in the plastic tube, easy to sort as
they spill out onto the floor.

Shiv picks them up and
stacks them, which is not
too difficult, but moving a coin
without knocking over the new stack
proves impossible for his fingers.

It's the speed, he thinks, his hand
still getting there a fraction of a second
before his brain realizes where it is.

Shiv struggles with that one
for a good five minutes
before he gives up.

"This is stupid!"
he snarls, shoving
the coins away.

"Okay," Heron says.
"Some exercises are
harder than others. We
can do a fun one next."

He hands Shiv a tangle of
plastic, each curve molded
in a different texture and
hinged to twist around.

"Feel the shape of the tangle
and the textures on its segments,"
Heron says. "Push it together into
a small knot, then stretch it apart
to form a loop. Pay attention to how
your hands move and where they go."

The plastic feels cool and smooth
in his hands, but hard where the putty
was soft. Some parts are plain while
others are twisted, ridged, or bumpy.

Shiv can sense his hands moving
faster than they used to, just a little, but
it doesn't stop him from using the tangle
because he's already holding onto it.

"Okay, this doesn't totally suck,"
Shiv says. When he solves the tangle
into its spiral form, he puts it back.

"Have you ever done the ruler drop?"
Heron asks, holding up a short slat.

Instantly Shiv's attention pinpoints
on the ruler. He has been hit
too many times to ignore it.

This one is plain wood, though,
without a metal edge, and Heron
is holding it between his thumb
and forefinger, not in his fist.

It's not too much of a threat.

Shiv makes himself breathe, and
manages to say, "I don't think so."

"It's very simple," Heron says.
"I'll drop this between your fingers,
and you catch it as quickly as you can.
We look at the number on the ruler,
and that tells your reaction speed."

"Huh," Shiv says. "I know I'm fast,
and I've just gotten faster. Okay."

He misses it on the first drop,
because he's too frazzled
to focus properly.

Heron assures him
that they can do it again.

The next time, Shiv catches it,
and time after that, even faster.

Heron keeps dropping the ruler
until Shiv gets the same score
three times in a row.

"Okay, I think we have
your current reaction speed,"
Heron says. "If you want, we
can repeat this exercise later
and see how you're adapting."

"Is it ... okay?" Shiv asks,
feeling antsy now that they've
finished and he's thinking of this
as a test rather than a game.

"It's great," Heron says. "Based on
my previous observations, I would have
rated you above average on speed.
You just did seven centimeters,
which is into the excellent range --
like pilots and professional drivers."

"Wow," Shiv whispered. "I didn't
know I was getting that good.
So what do we do after this?"

"How about something that mixes
hand and eye input?" Heron says.
Something rustles and he holds up
a puzzle that reads Family Forever.

Shiv recognizes Elsa and Anna
from the movie Frozen and says,
"Did you get that just for me?"

"No, I've had it for a while,"
Heron says. "It's about time
to swap it for a new one, actually."

It only has 24 pieces, and doesn't
take long for Shiv to snap it together,
even though he still has a hard time
making his hands and eyes cooperate.

As he's putting that one back in its box,
he spots another, this one featuring
an ocean scene with 300 pieces.

Shiv does that one too, and even
invites Heron to play with him,
their hands moving back and
forth as they assemble it.

After that, Shiv feels restless,
but he doesn't know why.

"We've been sitting still for
a while," Heron says as if Shiv
has complained aloud. "Let's
do something more active."

"Okay, what?" Shiv says,
climbing to his feet.

"I have a laser pointer,"
Heron says as he aims
the green dot at his palm
to prove that it's safe.

"Looks cool," Shiv says.

"I'm going to point this near
one of your feet, and your goal
is to stomp on the moving dot with
your closest foot," Heron said.

"Hit me," Shiv says, and
then the game is on.

It is ridiculously fun
to stomp around the room
trying to kill a light with his feet.

No wonder cats go nuts for these things.

After a few minutes, Heron hands Shiv
a similar pen and says, "Now it's your turn.
Aim near my feet, and I have catch your dot
too. It gets harder with both of us moving."

"How do we tell which dot is whose?"
Shiv asks, staring at his pointer.

"Yours is blue," Heron says. "Go!"

There isn't a lot of bare space in
the living room, but they use all of it.

Shiv is laughing when they flop
onto the futon, not quite panting,
but feeling the exercise a little.

He's getting better at moving, too,
and that makes him happy.

"For our next activity, we'll
need a table," Heron says.
"Pick a card game to play."

He has all kinds -- regular decks,
kiddie card games, and one called
We Didn't Playtest This at All.

"What's this like?" Shiv asks,
picking up the last box.

Heron almost smiles at him.
"It's quite whimsical," he says.
"I think you'll like that one."

So they start playing.

It's very silly, until
it becomes very hard.

Shiv has just gotten used to
the kittens, rock-paper-scissors,
and random numbers when
suddenly there are zombies
and he has to remember to do
something before his turn.

It's surprisingly tense
until Heron guesses wrong
and loses that round.

"This game is mental,"
Shiv says, shaking his head.

"Yes, but it's good for dexterity
because you have to handle
the cards, and it does make you
concentrate if certain ones come up,"
Heron says. "It's a lot more fun than
the door exercise, and the whimsy
means you get a break so you
don't have to focus all the time."

"Okay, that helps," Shiv said.

He can just about keep up with it,
and he feels grateful that neither
Dr. G nor Heron pestered him
to do stuff like this yesterday
when he was too rattled to think.

Sometimes Shiv still fumbles things
or a card slips out of his fingers,
but it's not as bad as it was.

"You're rubbing your forehead,"
Heron says. "Does your head hurt?"

"Huh," Shiv says, startled. He
hadn't even realized that he was
doing that. "Yeah, a little bit."

"May I borrow your hand
for a minute?" Heron asks,
turning his own palm up.

"Fine," Shiv says, and drops
his hand into Heron's grasp.

A ripple of power moves
through him. Shiv sighs into it
and lets his eyes flutter shut.

"You're okay," Heron assures him.
"You're just tired and hungry. Let's
take a break and have lunch."

"Already?" Shiv says, blinking
his eyes open as Heron lets go.

"Shiv, it's been four hours,"
Heron says. "Lunch time."

"Okay," Shiv says, wandering
into the kitchen. "I don't really
feel like cooking, though ..."

"No problem," Heron says.
"What do you want me to make?"

"Dude, you don't have to make
lunch for my lazy ass!" Shiv protests.

Heron looks faintly disappointed.

Shiv remembers that Heron expresses
affection with food, so rebuffing him is rude.

"You can get supper, okay?" Shiv offers.
"That gives you room to stretch.

"Okay," Heron agrees. "This
is your kitchen, after all."

Shiv rummages in the fridge.
"I'm out of Jaliya's ready meals,"
he says. "You like halal?"

"I've enjoyed the halal food I've
tried before," Heron replies. "Why?"

"It was too expensive to start
making halal food here and there's
really no room for it," Shiv says. "So
Boss White made a deal with a place
that cooks halal. They make ready meals
for us to serve. At the end of the day,
anything left over is free to staff."

"That sounds wonderful, thanks,"
Heron says. "What do you have?"

"Today I got chicken hot wings or
beef gyros," Shiv says. "Then
there's baklava for dessert."

"Beef, please," says Heron, and
Shiv pulls out a plate of each flavor.

"These are pretty cool," Shiv says. "See,
all the parts come in their own pouches,
packed in this tin plate. Just nuke the meat
and rice, then put the rest of it together."

He runs the beef and chicken through
the microwave until they steam.

Then he spreads the rice in the bottom
of each plate, tops it with the meat,
and adds the salad and other tidbits.

"It smells delicious," Heron says,
and digs into his beef plate.

Shiv's hot wings are spicy,
the salad a cold contrast.
He's still not a salad fan, but
it does put out the fire nicely.

The baklava is pistachio,
flaky and chewy and fantastic.

There are no dishes to do this time,
just drop the plates in the recycling bin.

Shiv likes the fact that he doesn't
have to mess with his garbage much,
only put out the bags at the right time
for whoever is on pickup duty.

After that, Heron checks on
Shiv's brain again. "You're
doing better," the healer says.
"Look at the settings again."

Shiv can see, when Heron
points it out, how he's moving
faster without freaking out.

He hasn't quite stopped
dropping shit yet, but it's
happening less often now,
and he's not bashing into things.

"That's good," Shiv says. "Still
not back to normal, but better."

"Closing in on your new normal,"
Heron says. "Don't worry, I'll
stick with you until you're
comfortable with this."

Shiv feels guilty at
tying up his time, but
secretly relieved, too.

"So now what?" he asks.

"Nothing too strenuous
after a meal," Heron says.
"How about a board game?"

"I guess," Shiv says. He hasn't
really enjoyed board games before,
but he's willing to bet that Heron has
more interesting ones than Candyland
and also won't belt him for fucking up.

"I have some small-box games,"
Heron offers. "Come pick one."

He is surprisingly mellow,
letting Shiv make most of
the choices. It's weird,
but it's kinda nice too.

Shiv follows Heron into
the living room and looks
through the little boxes.

"13 Minutes really does
play that fast," Heron explains.
"It's a political-military game."

"Enh," Shiv says. "What's this?"

"That's the travel edition of Catan,"
Heron says. "You build a civilization."

"Sooo not my thing," Shiv says,
shaking his head. "What else?"

"Burgle Bros. is a heist game,"
Heron says. "In my opinion, though,
it's not complete-in-box. It makes
much more sense when you build
an actual tower, so if you want to play,
we'd need to bring out your Legos."

"Sounds fun," Shiv says, going
to get his Legos. He has a lot more
than just the letter ones now.
They're fun to fidget with.

Heron shows him how to build
a three-floor tower on the dining table.

It's a little tricky, but Legos stick tight
so Shiv can't knock them over when
his hands don't move like he expects.

The walls help hold the cards, too.
Nothing keeps the meeples in place,
though, so he has to take care with them.

Shiv is not actually a safecracker, but
he quickly realizes that his experience
still gives him an edge in avoiding
the guards moving around.

"You're good at this,"
Heron murmurs, and
his mouth quirks up.

"On-the-job experience,"
Shiv says with a smirk.

He bumps the tower
a few times, but never
enough to knock it over.

It's getting a little easier
for him to concentrate, but
by the time they reach the roof
and escape, he's wearing out.

"It's okay," Heron says. "You're
working hard. That adds up."

"Feels like I'll never get to
the end of this," Shiv grumbles.

"You will," Heron promises. "It's
already getting better. Another day
or two and you should be fine. If
you need another boost later,
then I can do that too."

"Thanks," Shiv says.

"How about doing
something to help
your body integrate
a bit more?" Heron says.

"Such as?" Shiv says,
carefully picking up
the cards to put away.

"I have my kit for
massage therapy too,
all but the table," Heron says,
bringing out a blue bag that
reads Massage Machines.
"I could give you a rubdown,
or try some skin brushing."

Shiv thinks it over, and
then realizes that he's done
putting stuff away and has
drifted over to lean on Heron.

The taller man isn't doing
anything about it, he just
lets Shiv stay there.

Shiv doesn't know
what the hell is wrong
with him, only that he
feels empty and clingy
and it's all kinds of pathetic.

"I could start with just your hands,
and see if you like it," Heron offers.

In a flash, Shiv misses Jessica
and the Healthy Touch program and
even the prison, and how fucked up is that?

"Hands and arms," he blurts out,
pushing his sleeves out of the way.

"I can do that," Heron says, and
drapes a sheet over the futon.
He pats it, and Shiv moves there.

Shiv listens to the half-familiar spiel
of safety questions and answers
as best he can, but really, he's
tired of thinking and moving.
He just wants to sit there.

Heron's hands are gentle --
too gentle, as a matter of fact.

"Harder," Shiv mumbles,
and when that's not enough,
"Come on, man, I won't break."

"Pressure junkie?" Heron asks.
"It's unusual in someone your size."

"Yeah, kinda," Shiv said. "There's
these, like, push points somewhere --"

"Pressure points," Heron says.
"Those are sensitive spots along
your nerves and muscles."

"-- yeah, and pushing on them
hurts so good," Shiv says. "Just
if I start to remember shit, then you
gotta bail and jostle me out of it."

"Understood," Heron says,
and finally puts his back into it.

"Hnngg," Shiv says, reveling in
the feel of Heron digging into the web
between the thumb and forefinger.

The pain is deep and warm,
a sharp ache that squeezes
the tension out of Shiv's muscles.

Heron works his way over the arms
where Shiv has already pushed
his sleeves as high up as they'll go.

"I won't rub anywhere covered by cloth,"
Heron says. "I know that you've got
touch aversion, which I think is now
tangling with skin hunger as well."

"Yeah, that sucks," Shiv says.
He sits up enough to wriggle out
of his button-up and undershirt.
"Okay, you can keep going."

"Would you like massage oil
now that I've got more room
to work?" Heron offers.

"Hmm?" Shiv says drowsily.

"I know some of what you like,"
Heron says. "Here, smell.
Unscented or lavender?"

"Mmm ... lavender," Shiv says.
He likes the soothing scent.

Heron smoothes the oil
all over Shiv's skin.

The touch is helping,
he can feel that much,
and he wants more, even
if the thought makes him uneasy.

Heron's hands feel good, though,
and that helps Shiv to relax
enough to enjoy the ride.

Thumbs dig into his shoulders
and the long muscles of his back,
slowly prying loose the tension and
making Shiv whimper with pleasure.

Then the pressure eases up, and
Shiv whines, "You stopped."

"I've run out of skin," Heron says.

"Fuck." Shiv kicks off his jeans
and stretches out on the futon.
"You don't touch my shorts."

"Agreed," Heron says, and
starts working on Shiv's thighs.

It's twitchier than it was, but
as Heron heads down his legs
toward the feet, Shiv relaxes again.

The foot rub feels really fucking good,
and Shiv's brain is coming unglued.

He rouses a little when Heron
crouches by his head and says,
"Hey, it helps reintegrate the body
to do long strokes at the end of
a massage. Do you think you
could deal with that if I wrap
a towel over my hands, or not?"

"Dunno ... maybe," Shiv says.
Thinking feels like wading through
molasses. "Try just one stroke?"

"Of course," Heron says, and
wads a towel around his hands.

That touch feels different to Shiv,
less threatening than bare hands
on him, and it's doing funny things
to his head for some reason.

"Are you okay, Shiv?"
Heron says. "You're
making odd faces."

"I can feel things shifting
inside my head," Shiv says.
"Like blocks falling into place."

"Shifting in a good way?"
Heron says, leaning close.

"Mmm ... think so," Shiv says.
"Hard to tell, hard to think."

"Well, you're not yelping,
thrashing, or tensing up so I'm
going to interpret this as okay,"
Heron says. "You just let me
know if that changes."

"Mmmkay," Shiv mumbles.

The towel feels good, and
his mind is smoothing out now,
thoughts fitting together so he
doesn't have to pay attention.

"You're falling asleep," Heron says,
his voice low and warm. "That's fine.
Go ahead and take a nap now."

Something soft and fuzzy drifts
down and then starts to snuggle him.

Shiv tries to protest, but can't find
his voice. He pries his eyes open.

The Microfyne blanket is vivid violet.

"It's mine, not yours," Heron soothes.
"I'm sorry, I should have warned you.
I'd never go in your bedroom unless
you asked me to. Go back to sleep."

Shiv lets his questions float away
and snuggles deeper into the Microfyne.

He is already where he wants to be.

* * *


This poem is long, so its notes appear elsewhere.
Tags: cyberfunded creativity, family skills, fantasy, fishbowl, life lessons, poem, poetry, reading, safety, weblit, writing
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