Elizabeth Barrette (ysabetwordsmith) wrote,
Elizabeth Barrette
ysabetwordsmith

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Poem: "The Same Sky at the Same Time"

This poem was written outside the regular prompt calls. It fills the "Pyrotechnics" square in my 9-1-19 card for the Arts and Crafts Festival Bingo. It has been sponsored by Anthony & Shirley Barrette. This poem belongs to the Calliope thread of the Polychrome Heroics series.


"The Same Sky at the Same Time"

[Saturday, July 4, 2015]

"Hey, are you busy tonight?"
Vagary asked Calliope.

"I don't have any plans
so far," she replied.

"You wanna come see
some pyrotechnic art
with me?" Vagary said.

She laughed. "They're
called fireworks."

"Only the boring kind,"
Vagary said. "I mean
a real display of artistry
made from gunpowder,
assorted chemicals, fire,
and stupendous skill."

"Okay, I admit that you've
piqued my curiosity," she said.
"Where is this show going on?"

"I have no idea," Vagary said.
"Somewhere in the United States,
because it's our holiday, but we'll
catch a ride with a teleporter."

Calliope never did find out
where they went, because it was
dusk and she couldn't see much
but shadows and star-spangled sky.

Vagary popped open the lawn chairs
and staked out an empty space.

"So, supervillain fireworks,"
Calliope said, chuckling.
"This ought to be good."

"Not just supervillains
make these," Vagary said.
"Some of them invite friends
from the gray or white capes too.
Tonight is about art, not politics."

"Okay, I'll take your word
for it," Calliope said.

"Peas and Cheese!"
someone hollered.
"Muttar Paneer!"

"Fruity Kabobs!"
another voice sang.
"Get 'em while they're hot!"

"Deep Fried Dinosaur!"
someone else shouted.

"What the fuck?"
Calliope hissed.

"That's chicken,"
Vagary said. "Well,
probably chicken.
I'm getting some.
Yo, dinosaur!"

Money and food
both changed hands.

"I'll just stick with fruit,"
Calliope said, waving
to the fruit vendor.

The grilled fruit was
sweet and delicious,
zippy with some kind
of spiced topping.

Then the fireworks
began to go off.

Calliope had never
seen anything like them.

Oh, there were the usual sparks
and peonies and willow trees --
except that some of the sparks
were a pale violet-pink, the peonies
were red-violet in addition to white,
and the willow tree's trailing leaves
were a perfect Paris green.

Then came a cluster in
all shades of blue and green
that made Calliope gasp.

"How are they doing this?"
she said. "I've seen fireworks
before, but this is mind-blowing!"

"They use rare earth ingredients,"
Vagary said. "That one's a variety of
copper salts, but it's not all copper and
barium up there. The red-violet was
rubidium nitrate, and the purple sparks
had potassium added to iron filings."

"How do you know all this?"
Calliope wondered.

"It's on the website,"
Vagary said. "If you buy
anything, it's in the catalog too."

"Buy what?" Calliope said.

"The fireworks," Vagary said.
"People can sponsor them --
you'll see some logos later."

Other shaped charges came first,
stars and infinity signs and
arrows through hearts.

There was a serpent
swallowing its tail and
a kraken attacking a ship.

There was a very credible image
of the Maldivian national emblem
complete with a green palm tree.

There was even a recitation of
Genesis complete with the crowd
screaming, "LET THERE BE LIGHT!"
as a barrage of burning aluminum
blotted out the black sky.

"By the way, don't freak out,"
Vagary said between bursts.
"I got you a little something."

"Like what?" Calliope said.

"And now, the first bouquet
of the evening is for CAL from
VAGARY!" the announcer said.

And the sky lit up in a spray of
blue-pink-white-pink-blue.

"What -- how did you --"
Her cheeks were wet.
Why were her cheeks wet?

"I bought you a bouquet,"
Vagary said. "The show
sells them through an app."

Calliope scrabbled for her phone.
"Can I buy one?" she asked.

"If there's any left this late,"
Vagary said. "Here, let's see --
yeah, but only three slots.
You better hurry up."

He showed her how
to access the catalog
and reserve a slot, then
drag-and-drop selections
from the remaining fireworks
to compose a bouquet.

Calliope didn't know if
Vagary had a favorite color
or anything else like that, so
she chose the deep indigo of
cesium nitrate, the dark violet
of potassium nitrate, and
the rich red-violet of
rubidium nitrate.

Vagary was nothing
if not utterly rare.

It took a while for
the slot to come up,
but the bouquet was
beautiful, the crowd
oohed and ahhed ... and
Vagary cried on her.

The grand finale, when
it came, burned off
the leftover fireworks
that hadn't sold for
the bouquets, followed
by a barrage of starbursts.

After that, Calliope and Vagary
drifted along the food vendors.

They bought agua frescas,
watermelon for her and
honeydew for him.

Then Calliope spotted
the Red, White, and Blue
Puff Pastry Sundae Boats.

"I could never eat all that,"
she mourned, staring at them.
"But I want one anyway."

"They're meant to share,"
Vagary said. "Well, unless you're
high-burn, but we haven't done much
today. Eat whatever you want,
and I'll finish the rest of it."

"Don't be ridiculous," she said.
"It's eighty-five degrees out here,
it'd melt before I got halfway through."

Calliope bought one and then put it
on a picnic table between them.
"Just start eating at your end."

So that's what they did.

It was delicious, flaky pastry
and vanilla ice cream topped
with blueberries, strawberries,
and bananas then drizzled
with chocolate sauce.

"Thanks for inviting me
here tonight," Calliope said.
"This was the best fireworks show
that I've ever seen in my life."

"What was important wasn't
the fireworks," Vagary said softly.
"It was that we were both together
this evening, together in this place,
looking up into the same sky
at the same time."

"Yes," she said, "it was."

* * *

Notes:

"What was important wasn't the fireworks, it was that we were together this evening, together in this place, looking up into the sky at the same time."
-- Banana Yoshimoto

On average, Terramagne-America offers healthier food than here, including at events. Typically a wide range is offered so people can customize choices to their own needs, but emphasizing more-healthy foods over less-healthy foods. One option is to ensure that there is a healthy vendor catering to the main types of specialty diet, like a vegetarian booth and a kosher booth. Another is to require every vendor to offer at least one healthy item on their menu. Then make a list of healthy options available to patrons. An increasing problem in local-America is places banning outside food, then serving only junk, which harms everyone's health and outright excludes people with many special needs. It is literally considered more important to pressure citizens to buy junk food than to respect their freedom to feed themselves as they see fit.

Muttar Paneer (aka Peas and Cheese) is an Indian dish. Fruity Kabobs can be done with all kinds of fruit, plain or with spices sprinkled on them. Birds really are dinosaurs, thus making it legitimate to describe chicken on a stick as Deep Fried Dinosaur.

Firework chemistry is fascinating. Check out this infographic of colors.

Calcium can also be mixed into other fireworks to enhance the colours, while other calcium salts make pretty pale pinks (namely CaCO3, CaSO4, or CaC2O4).
---8<---
The copper (I) chloride (CuCl) makes a beautiful greenish torquoise firework, while the copper (II) chloride (CuCl2) generates a rich blue. More complicated compounds of copper and chlorine create intermediate shades of blue to green: copper acetoarsenite creates a striking paris green, while the mess of Cu3As2O3Cu(C2H3O2)2 is a brilliant deep blue.
---8<---
Alternately, a deeper indigo blue-purple is created by cesium nitrate (CsNO3). Cesium is also an oxidizer.
---8<---
The combination of copper and strontium, extracted from their relative source ores, creates the pale lavender of fireworks. A darker violet is created by potassium nitrate (KNO3), which naturally occurs as niter, another form of saltpeter.
---8<---
A rich red-violet colour can be made from rubidium nitrate (RbNO3), although it is rarely used.
---8<---
Sparklers are made from iron filings and charcoal fragments, with the temperature strongly influencing the colour of the sparks. The inclusion of potassium can tint the sparks from the typical warm gold to a paler violet-pink.

-- "These Are the Minerals That Give Fireworks Their Colors"

Fireworks can be shaped in many ways. Standard ones have a glossary of names. You can also make them in any customized shape. I don't say, "Don't try this at home." I say, "FIRST study, THEN do science to it!" Use your own risk-assessment to decide whether you want to use fireworks, and if so, how. These safety tips come from the American Pyrotechnics Association, the people who know the most about fireworks.

This is the Maldivian emblem.

Genesis 1
King James Bible
The Beginning
(John 1:1-5)

In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.

The First Day: Light
And God said, Let there be light: and there was light. And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness. And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day.

Agua fresca is a Hispanic beverage made with water and natural ingredients such as fruits and vegetables. Around here, a defining ingredient is cucumber. If the fruit added is very sweet, it may have little or no added sugar; more sugar goes into recipes that use sour fruit. In any case, it tends to be much healthier than soda or pure fruit juice. In high heat, you can add a pinch of sea salt or mineral salt to replace that lost by sweating. Enjoy recipes for Cucumber Honeydew and Watermelon Cucumber.

Red White and Blue Puff Pastry Sundae Boats make a decadent dessert.

Food sharing is a bonding activity which conveys affection and intimacy. It's also an excellent way of bonding with survivors of abuse or neglect and showing friendship. Previously, Calliope tended to avoid sharing food with Vagary, but she seems more open to it now.
Tags: cyberfunded creativity, fantasy, fishbowl, gender studies, poem, poetry, reading, weblit, writing
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