Elizabeth Barrette (ysabetwordsmith) wrote,
Elizabeth Barrette

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Poem: "A Different Vision of Life"

This poem is spillover from the July 3, 2018 Poetry Fishbowl.  It was inspired by a prompt from DW user Dialecticdreamer.  It also fills the "snuggling" square in my 7-1-18 card for the Winterfest in July Bingo fest, and the "loss of voice / forced silence" square in my 6-23-18 card for the Hurt / Comfort Bingo fest. This poem belongs to the Marionettes and Mercedes threads of the Polychrome Heroics series.  It directly follows "The Compass that Guides Us," so read that first or this won't make much sense.

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"A Different Vision of Life"

Griffin loved Italy, but still,
some parts were ... frustrating.

He soon got tired of being unable
to understand most conversations.

Over breakfast, he finally snapped,
"Doesn't anyone else here speak English?"

"All you had to do was ask," Olivo said mildly.

"I'm sorry, Griffin, sometimes I can't tell
which language I'm speaking anymore,"
Glyn said. "We'll switch to English."

They did, and that smoothed things over
enough for Griffin to relax again.

After breakfast, though, Megliore
gently steered him into the family room.
"Is it very difficult for you?" she asked.
"We want you to feel at home here.
If learning Italian would help, there
are various ways to do that."

Griffin remembered what Glyn
had said about learning it.

"Yeah, I was okay at first, but
now it's starting to wear on me,"
he admitted. "Can I talk to Glyn?
She told me how she learned it,
and I'm ... kind of curious."

"Of course," Megliore said,
patting him on the shoulder.
"If you need anything more,
just come and let me know."

So Griffin found Glyn among
the bustle of people clearing away
the breakfast dishes, and said,
"I need to talk with you."

They went outside to
the patio and sat down.

"I want to learn Italian,"
Griffin said, "and I know that
there are lots of different ways,
but not what all of them are,
or how to choose one."

"You can take a quickie class
meant for travelers, the ordinary way,"
Glyn said. "With superpowers, there's
a version that gives you something like
a whole dictionary-grammar guide, but not as
personal. Il Dottore helped me with another kind,
but that tied me up for two weeks -- it was
great, but really distracting for a while."

"I don't want to lose that much time,"
Griffin said. "Is there, I don't know,
a lighter version of the telepathy?"

"Yeah, it's almost a cross between
the other stuff," Glyn said. "You get
kind of a traveler's version, but then
there's a little nudge that makes it
easier for you to learn more. From
the outside, it'd just look like you took
a quickie class and did really well."

"That sounds perfect," Griffin said.
Then he sighed. "I forgot, my budget
probably won't stretch that far."

Glyn shook her head. "No problem.
You're a guest," she said. "Let me guess,
Megliore wanted to know if you needed
language lessons or anything, right?"

"Yes," Griffin said. "I just wanted
to talk about it with you first.
I should ask Dad next."

"So call him now," Glyn said.
"Your phone's in the safety relay."

That had been arranged before they
even left home, not only protecting
the hosts but ensuring that none of
Griffin's unwelcome relatives could
pester him on vacation either.

Griffin found a quiet corner of
the patio where nobody would
overhear him, and called home.

"Griffin! I'm so happy to hear from
you," said his dad. "How are things?"

"Mostly okay, but not knowing
how to speak the language is
starting to bug me," Griffin said.

"That does sound frustrating,"
his dad said. "Have you decided
what to do about that yet?"

"Well, I know what I'd like to do,"
Griffin said, "but I wanted to get
your permission first. It's kinda big."

"I'm listening," said his dad.

"There's a trick with telepathy
that could give me a boost, like
taking a traveler's class really fast,"
Griffin said. "It shouldn't have
any big drawbacks this way.
A friend told me that Il Dottore
is really good at this stuff, Dad."

"I trust him," he said instantly.
"If this is what you want, then do it.
Italian is a useful language to know --
especially since most people in California
go for Spanish. It's less competition."

Griffin decided not to mention
the part where he was thinking
about dropping Spanish classes.

"Thanks, Dad," said Griffin.
"I'll call you later tonight, or
maybe tomorrow morning,
to let you know how it went."

After that, Griffin hung up
and went back to Glyn.

"Thanks for waiting, and
for talking me through
all of this," Griffin said.

"No problem," Glyn said.
"Now that you have an idea
what you want, we just we ask
Megliore to set it up," Glyn said.

It was that easy.

Griffin marveled as Glyn
talked with Megliore, explaining
what they needed, and then
Megliore arranged for Griffin
to meet with Il Dottore.

Griffin adored Megliore. She
was like the coolest grandmother
in the world. She could fix just about
anything with a quick phone call.

So Glyn and Griffin spent
the morning in the garden,
where she showed him some
of the interesting plants that
only grew in places like Italy.

After lunch, Glyn walked Griffin to
the little clinic that served the compound,
past yet another swimming pool nestled
between the clinic and its hospice house,
this one cleverly L-shaped to separate
the shallow end from the diving well.

The buildings were pale stucco with
tile roofs and wide patios around them.
There was even an outdoor kitchen.

Inside, the foyer had a bathroom
to the right and let into the waiting room,
with the front desk across from the seats.

The receptionist waved them right on by,
and the clinic was so small that it only had
a single hallway flanked by pairs of rooms:
exam room and procedure room, patient rooms,
then a counseling room and the shared office.

"Here you go," Glyn said. "This takes
a while, even though it doesn't seem to,
so I'll head out. If you need me to walk you
back to the guest house afterwards, don't
worry about it; someone will call me."

"Okay," Griffin said, and then
slipped into the counseling room,
closing the door behind him.

The room had deep yellow walls over
a wooden floor. Built-in bookshelves along
the back wall matched a freestanding desk.
An easy chair faced a couch, each done
in a different shade of brown leather.

Il Dottore was waiting, the silver swans
on his mask glinting in the soft light.
"It's so good to see you," he said.
"How have you been doing?"

"Better at first, but now I'm
getting frustrated because I don't
speak Italian," Griffin admitted.

"Then let's see if we can get you
settled a bit, before we begin,"
Il Dottore said. He stepped out
from behind the desk, towing
his rolling chair behind him.

As soon as the older man
came within reach, Griffin
leaned against him with
a deep sigh of relief.

The familiar touch
wrapped around him
like a warm, fuzzy blanket
and Griffin instantly felt better.

"Thanks," he said. "You
still feel like Microfyne."

Il Dottore chuckled. "I will
take that as a compliment,"
he said, then patted the couch.
"Come and sit down. We should
talk before doing anything more."

"Okay," Griffin said, taking a seat.

Il Dottore sank into his own chair
and said, "What I will do is give you
the bones of the language -- the grammar
and core vocabulary -- and open your mind
just a little to help you learn more. This will not
give you full fluency right away, understand?"

"Yes, sir," Griffin said. "Glyn told me that this
would be like getting a traveler's course, and
that I didn't want what she had because
it would be too much of a distraction."

"That is an excellent analogy,"
Il Dottore said with a chuckle. "Now,
the window within your mind should
stay more open than usual, probably for
a few weeks, but how far and how long will
depend on you. I won't let it overwhelm you,
but beyond that, I'm going to let your mind
find its own comfort level with what I offer."

"Okay, that sounds good," Griffin said.
"I um ... used to take Spanish, but I think
I want to drop it and switch to Italian."

"Then you can skip the first semester,
or if you are diligent on your visit here,
perhaps the first year," Il Dottore said.

"Diligent?" Griffin said. "I'd like
to learn more, but I'm not sure how
to work with what you're giving me."

"A good language class will give you
the basics first, and then sets of words on
different topics," Il Dottore said. "Simply do
the same yourself -- go to the market and
practice shopping, then go to a restaurant
and order food, and so on. Life your life,
just do it in Italian for a little while!"

Griffin gave a nervous giggle.
"Okay, I can do that," he said.
"We have planned some trips
to museums and stuff already."

"Excellent," said Il Dottore. "Ask
someone to help you make a list
of words about traveling, or art, or
architecture -- whatever you like --
so you can talk about what you see."

"Yeah, let me make a note of that,"
Griffin said, and used his smartphone
to update the travel calendar he kept
to organize his activities here. "Done."

"Very good," said Il Dottore. "Expect
this to take at least an hour, maybe more.
Afterwards, you'll feel tired and probably want
a nap. You might be a bit uncomfortable,
but it shouldn't be worse than that --
any sharp pain, tell me immediately
and I'll take care of it for you."

"Understood," Griffin said. "I don't
expect it to be all the way easy,
just faster than the usual."

"That is an excellent perspective,"
Il Dottore said. "Lie down now,
and get comfortable, because
you will be here for a while."

So Griffin stretched out on
the couch with a throw pillow.
"Okay, I'm ready," he said.

"Breathe slowly," said Il Dottore,
laying a hand on Griffin's head.
"Think of a conversation in Italian,
if you like, and let yourself drift ..."

The voices came easily enough,
happy morning chatter in the kitchen,
rising and falling in a soft tide like the sea.

The telepath's touch was warm and familiar,
like the bright Italian sunshine, and Griffin
let himself follow it to the smell of vanilla
and old leather, the sound of pages turning.

When Griffin came back to himself,
he could tell that it had been a while,
because his whole body felt stiff.

Groaning, he sat up to stretch.

"How are you feeling?"
Il Dottore asked him.

"Tired, a little sore, stuffy,"
Griffin said. "Like I have a cold,
or maybe a sinus headache. It's not
awful, just annoying. I wouldn't
want to do anything vigorous."

"You don't need to do any more today,"
Il Dottore assured him. Gentle fingers
touched Griffin's wrist. "All right, let me
see if I can take the edge off for you."

Warm hands framed Griffin's face
for a moment, making him sigh
and lean into the contact.

Most of the ache faded, leaving
the stuffed feeling behind, as if he'd
gone swimming but had forgotten
to shake all the water out of his ears.

In fact, everything sounded like
he was listening underwater, or
trying to hear two different things that
rippled over and through each other.

"Well, you took in more than I expected,
but it won't cost you more than a longer nap,"
said Il Dottore. "Can you walk next door,
or shall I pour you into a bed here?"

"I can make it," Griffin said.

"Come along, then, and perhaps
you can solve a little problem for me,"
Il Dottore said, offering his arm.

Griffin gratefully accepted the help,
and maybe clung to him a bit as
they walked to the hospice house.

"I think we'll take the elevator rather than
the stairs," Il Dottore declared, and led
Griffin to a grilled door that opened
into a small wooden carriage.

Upstairs, they came to a room with
spring-green walls and two twin beds,
each with an apple-green coverlet.
A window looked out on the garden,
framed by long gauzy curtains striped
in shades of spruce, pine, and olive.

A man lay on the bed under the window,
with the dark coloring typical of Italians.

"Rumoroso, my boy, I've found you
a roommate after all," said Il Dottore.
"This is Griffin. He's learning Italian
the quick way, so be gentle with him."

The man sat up and mouthed something,
but no sound came out, and then
he slumped back on the bed.

"Forgot again, didn't you?"
said Il Dottore. "Do not worry,
 your voice should return within
a few hours. Shall I explain?"

Rumoroso nodded.

Il Dottore turned to Griffin
and said, "Rumoroso tangled
with a fellow named Silencio, and
came out the worse for it. So he
lost his voice until the effects wear off,
which makes him anxious and lonely."

"I can keep him company ... if he
doesn't mind that I'll probably
fall asleep in a few minutes,"
Griffin volunteered at once.

Rumoroso patted the bed
that stood close to the door.

"Don't mind if I do," Griffin said,
gratefully lying down. Then
he turned back to Il Dottore.
"Thanks for everything."

"You are most welcome,"
the older man said. "I will
check back with you later."

He let himself out, then,
gently closing the door.

Rumoroso pointed out
the viewscreen overhead
and demonstrated how
to use the remote control,
then politely offered Griffin
the device in his hand.

Griffin waved it away.
"I'm sure you know more
than I do about which shows
are actually worth watching."

Rumoroso turned on the viewscreen,
flicked through several shows, then
settled on something that showed
a slow bike ride through Italy with
birds singing in the background.

"Perfect," Griffin said.

He dozed off and on for a while,
enjoying the quiet company
and the comfortable bed.

When he woke, the show had
changed to a nature scene and
the screen read La Toscana.


With a little thrill, Griffin
realized he could read it.

"Hello," Rumoroso said,
his voice scratchy and faint.

"Hi," Griffin said. "I'm pleased
to meet you, but don't strain
your voice on my account."

Rumoroso tried to say
something longer, then
winced and gave up.

Even if he'd been hit by
superpowers instead of
a sore throat, pushing it
probably wasn't prudent.

They both fell asleep again,
lulled by the warm air.

Griffin woke to the sound of
the ocean on the viewscreen
and Rumoroso whimpering in bed.

"Hey, buddy, wake up," Griffin said.
"Nightmares suck. Come on, sit up."

Rumoroso did not wake up.

Hesitantly, unsure if it was safe
but unwilling to leaving him suffering,
Griffin touched the other man's shoulder.

Rumoroso sighed and curled himself
around as much of Griffin's arm as he could.

Well, that was a bit awkward.

Then again, it sounded as if
Rumoroso needed the company.

So Griffin scooted closer -- the beds
were only a few inches apart anyway --
and pulled him into a loose hug.

Rumoroso responded by wriggling
back toward him until they were
snuggling across two beds.

Okay, that worked.

Griffin got comfortable
and went back to sleep.

The next time, it was motion
that woke him as Rumoroso sat up.

"What?" Griffin said sleepily.

"I'm sorry for latching onto you
like that," Rumoroso said.
"I'm sure we don't know
each other that well yet."

Oh, he had his voice back.
That must feel better.

Griffin shrugged. "No problem,"
he replied. "I offered to keep you
company, and it's no more than I've
done for my friends back home."

Besides, Rumoroso wasn't
much older than they were --
college age, or a little past it.

Rumoroso smiled as if Griffin had said
something particularly touching.
"Friends?" he echoed.

"Yeah," Griffin said.
"I have some good ones,
and I can always use more."

"In that case, do you want to move
the beds together?" Rumoroso said.
"I get ... twitchy when I can't talk, and it
takes a while for me to get back to normal.
Usually they find me a roommate, because
company helps, but you're a guest, so ..."

"I'm happy to help," Griffin said, climbing
off so he could give his bed a shove. They
slid together easily over the wooden floor.
"I know some emotional first aid, the basics,
if you need to talk about what happened."

"Thanks, but I can't share details,"
Rumoroso said. "Then again, those
don't matter. What gets to me is that
my superpowers are all in my voice."

"Ohhh," Griffin said. "No wonder."

"Exactly," said Rumoroso. "I feel ...
not just disarmed, but not like myself."

"You have my complete sympathy,"
Griffin said, waving a hand at his body.
"This is all new, not what I was born with.
I totally understand feeling like you don't fit."

"It will get better," Rumoroso said,
"for both of us. So, you really cuddle?
You weren't just humoring me? I know
Americans can be ... different.
Culture gap, and all that."

"My friends and I pile up
to watch movies," Griffin said.
"As long as everything stays
friendly, I'm smooth with it."

So they scooted together,
their sides touching, and then
Rumoroso turned the show to
a green field with nature sounds.

It was pleasant just to lie there and
not have to worry about anything.

And then Rumoroso started
mimicking the bird songs.

Griffin stared at him,
then remembered that
was rude and tried to quit,
but it was hard to ignore.

"It's okay," said Rumoroso. "I ah,
have Audiographic Memory. This
is part of my superpowers. I need
to test and see what I have back,
because it doesn't necessarily
recover all at the same speed."

"That makes sense," Griffin said.
"Let me know if you need help, I mean,
if it's something that an ordinary person
could do. I've helped soup friends before."

Rumoroso gave him a long look.
"Maybe later," he said slowly.

So Griffin lay back and just
listened to the trills and whistles.

Then Rumoroso began ...
sort of shouting quietly at
the curtains, little chuffs of
focused air aimed at the part
that hung below the window.

Griffin got used to that too.

Suddenly, the gauze moved,
swaying in a strong arc.

"Yes!" Rumoroso crowed.

"I'm glad you're doing better,"
Griffin said. "Curtain magic, cool."

After that, Rumoroso alternated
between making bird calls and
playing with the curtains.

Griffin recognized a few
of the sounds, but many of
the birds were unfamiliar.

"Do you actually know what
any of those are, or are you
just copying whatever sounds
you hear?" he wondered.

"Some of them," Rumoroso said.
"Listen, that's a house sparrow --
you should know that one."

"Yeah, America has those
too," Griffin replied.

"Everywhere has those,"
Rumoroso said with a laugh.
"They're like flying mice."

Griffin laughed too.
"Oh, what's that one?"

"Some kind of warbler,"
Rumoroso said. "We have
a lot of them -- they fly down
Italy when migrating."

"Sounds fun," Griffin said.

Then his back spasmed,
making him grimace and
search for a better position.

"Problem?" Rumoroso said.
"It's all right if you need to move."

"Yeah," Griffin admitted. "Like I
mentioned earlier, this body is not
my original, it's still kind of new,
so I get cramps if I don't move
around often enough, like today."

Rumoroso rubbed a hand over
his mouth. "I could help, if you want."

"What, like bodywork?" Griffin said.

"No, with my voice," Rumoroso said.
"It's part of my superpower -- I can
say things and they happen. I won't
do anything except what you ask for.
As long as I only affect your body, then
it won't clash with the language boost."

"So you could just tell the cramps
to go away, and they would?" Griffin said.
A little shiver of nerves went through him,
because that was a lot  of power for anyone
to hold, but then came a little itch of curiosity.
And another back spasm. "Yeah, try it."

"Relax your back muscles," Rumoroso said.

It felt like everything in Griffin's back
turned to butter, the pain melting away.

"Wow," he said. "Best. Power. Ever."

Rumoroso gave a little flourish,
as if he was bowing with his hand.
"I'm glad I could help," he said. "Just
let me know if you need anything else."

"Oh yeah," Griffin said, snuggling
against his new friend. "Definitely."

They made it almost twenty minutes
before Griffin's foot cramped up.

Grumbling, he sat up to go through
the massage routine that Heron
had taught him for fixing this.

"Now what?" Rumoroso asked.

"Freaking foot cramps," Griffin muttered,
still kneading along the arch of his foot.

"So it's not one place, they can hit
any part of your body?" Rumoroso said.

"Yeah," Griffin said. "The healer who
fixed my body said that it'll take time
for me to adjust, and my growth might
be erratic for a while. That means
muscle cramps, bone and joint aches,
like ... a new house settling in."

"I can fix it at least for today,"
Rumoroso offered. "Do you know
about progressive relaxation?"

"I do, but I'm not great at it,"
Griffin said. "I can only do it when
my therapist talks me down. I can't
make it work by myself yet."

"I can do it for you, right now,
if you want," Rumoroso offered.

"Thanks," Griffin said. "I owe you one."

"No, you don't." Rumoroso shook
his head. "You're keeping me company,
you're even helping me test for recovery of
my superpowers, so I owe you. Fixing
your cramps will make us square."

Then he frowned. "Except that
you're a guest, not Family. Do you
even know about favor-trading?"

"A little," Griffin said. "I'm used to
barter at home. Some of the folks who
hang out with the Finns -- our family friends --
they trade in bigger favors. Mostly I'm
swapping with Heron, doing things that
he used to do at home now that he's
living elsewhere, in trade for bodywork."

"That will do," Rumoroso said.
"Do you trust me with this?
It'll probably put you to sleep."

Griffin glanced out the window at
the late afternoon light. "Just don't
knock me out for the whole night."

"I'll program a timer to wake you
after an hour," Rumoroso promised.

He pushed a button on the remote control,
and a clock appeared on the viewscreen.
A few more beeps and chirps, and it
shrank down to a tiny hourglass in
the bottom of the green meadow.

"Ready when you are," Griffin said.

"Start by getting comfortable,"
Rumoroso said. "This room is
a safe place. You can relax here.

Now that Griffin was listening for it, he
could hear the soft vibrato in the voice,
which reminded him of how a privacy field
seemed to sink into his body and make it
feel as if everything would be okay.

A breeze blew through the window,
smelling of flowers and the sea.

Griffin snuggled closer to
the warm wall of flesh
that Rumoroso offered.

"Breathe in, slow and deep,"
the older man said. "Breathe out."

Griffin felt his body obey, and it was
such a luxury to have everything
happen like it was supposed to,
without having to struggle with it.

He hummed, low and happy.

Rumoroso chuckled. "Gently now,
tense your toes. Hold that ... and
let go of it, all of the muscles in
your toes relaxing and going limp."

Griffin lay there and listened
as Rumoroso's superpower
wrung all the tension out
of his body, leaving him
relaxed and sleepy ...

It was his stomach growling
that woke Griffin this time.

"Now that I can't fix,"
Rumoroso said. "I'm not
much of a cook. Let's go
downstairs and see what
hits the table for supper."

"Great idea," Griffin said,
and climbed out of bed.
He stretched carefully.

Nothing hurt.

"You are amazing,"
he told Rumoroso. "Do
you hug? Can I hug you?"

Rumoroso came around
the beds and leaned into him,
letting Griffin hold him for a minute.

Then they took turns visiting
the blue bathroom -- Griffin still
found Italian plumbing a little weird --
and went downstairs to eat.

"I thought this was the dining room?"
Griffin said, staring at the long table
now almost hidden by platters of food.

"Only when it rains," Rumoroso said
with a laugh. "Even then, half of us
have to eat on trays to make room."

Griffin looked at the small crowd
of people crammed into the space.

"Yeah, I get that," he said.
"So where do we really eat?"

"The main dining tables
are outside on the patio,"
Rumoroso explained.

Griffin stepped up to the table
and began loading his plate.

Then he realized that the lady
beside him had her left fingers
in some sort of complicated splint.

"Hey, do you need an extra hand?"
Griffin offered. "I could carry your plate."

She looked at him, then chattered
something in Italian, and Rumoroso
translated for the two of them.

Then she handed Griffin her plate.
"Thank you," she told him.

It took a moment for him
realize that she'd said it in
Italian, and he understood.

So they went down the line
with Griffin holding two plates,
which meant Rumoroso had to put
the food on Griffin's plate for him.

Griffin was perfectly happy
to see the grape leaves stuffed
with lamb and rice, but hesitated
over the unfamiliar chicken dish.
"No olives," he said finally.

"You're new to them?"
Rumoroso asked.

"Yeah, and I don't like
how they taste," Griffin said.

"One olive," Rumoroso said,
putting it beside the chicken.
"There are so many kinds, you
may yet find one you like."

Griffin wrinkled his nose, but
then they were past the olives.

There were eggs poached
in skillets of tomato sauce,
penne pasta with herb sauce,
and mixed pickled vegetables,
alongside loaves of bread
and golden buttered toast.

"Giardiniera,"  said Rumoroso
as he dished up the pickles.
"They're tangy and spicy."

The far end of the table held
avocados stuffed with salad.
Someone had added a card table
with big bowls of yogurt alongside
smaller bowls of bananas, berries,
nuts, and what looked like cacao nibs.

"No dessert?" Griffin said wistfully.

"What, you don't like yogurt?"
Rumoroso said. "Or you're allergic?"

"I like it fine," Griffin said. "I was
just expecting cake or cookies."

Rumoroso shrugged, then
filled cups with yogurt. "Gelato
will come out later, if you like."

"I like," Griffin said. "Bananas,
strawberries, and almonds, please."

Finally he handed the spare plate
to its owner, who thanked him again.

More bits of Italian were starting
to snag at Griffin's attention as
dinner conversations sprang up, so
he didn't know which way to turn.

Rumoroso led the way to
the patio. "I think you'll do
better out of earshot from
the crowd," he said as he
put his plate on a small table
that had one bench with it.

"Yeah, probably," Griffin said
as he sat down and started eating.

The food was delicious. He was
quickly getting spoiled by it.

The chicken was good, and
the obligatory olive was ...
less awful than the last one
that Griffin had sampled,
milder and almost creamy.

The giardiniera made
a bright contrast to
the mellow chicken.

A shift in the nearby crowd
made Griffin look up to see
Il Dottore approaching.

Rumoroso nearly scrambled
to his feet, but Il Dottore
waved him back down.
"Sit, sit," he said.

One wrinkled hand
fell on Griffin's shoulder.
"How are you doing?"

"Better," Griffin said.
"Hungry now. I'm starting
to recognize a few words in
Italian. Rumoroso brought me
over here so it's not overwhelming."

"Well done, both of you," said Il Dottore.
"I'm glad you're getting along, too.
I'll just be on my way now."

Griffin watched as he
drifted through the crowd,
everyone melting out of the way
and yet not avoiding him.

A memory floated up,
of his dad talking about
important people and
how to recognize them.

Dad had been right:
Il Dottore was important.

It wasn't just that people
moved aside for him, but that
they all turned toward him like
flowers facing the sun.

Then he was gone, and
it all went back to normal.

Griffin turned his attention
back to the excellent supper.

The lamb-and-rice things
were warm and fluffy.
"What are these called?"

"Dolmades, from the Greek,"
said Rumoroso. "In Italian, we
say ripieni for stuffed vegetables."

"Yeah, it's a little distracting,
but not too bad," Griffin said.
"I like learning new things."

"You'll get used to it
soon enough, Griffin,"
Rumoroso promised.
"It's just a new viewpoint."

"What is?" Griffin asked.

"A different language is
a different vision of life,"
Rumoroso explained.

Griffin looked around at
the colorful food on his plate,
all the red and yellow flowers
blooming in the hedge, and
somewhere beyond that,
the distant glint of the sea.

"I like what I'm seeing," he said.

* * *


This poem is long, so the notes appear separately.

Tags: cyberfunded creativity, ethnic studies, family skills, fantasy, fishbowl, gender studies, life lessons, linguistics, poem, poetry, reading, weblit, writing
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