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This poem is spillover from the April 4, 2017 Poetry Fishbowl. It was inspired by a prompt from [personal profile] moongoddessgirl. It also fills the "vulnerability" square in my 4-3-17 card for the [community profile] origfic_bingo fest. This poem has been sponsored by [personal profile] janetmiles. It belongs to the Danso and Family thread of the Polychrome Heroics series.


"A Level of Protection"


It was an impossible situation,
a black teen boy looking after
a white tween girl, but Danso and
Boomer were determined to make it work.

Danso made sure they both got to eat,
even if the food wasn't always great,
and found them places to sleep.

He worried about accidents, but
remembered what his mother said:

"There's a level of protection you
need to give to your kids, and then
sometimes you need to just let them
figure out things on their own."

So he let Boomer scramble around
the junkyard she used as a playground,
only holding out a hand now and then
to make sure she wouldn't fall.

Against the more serious threats,
Danso remained as diligent as ever,
and there were always dangers
for vulnerable young people living
wild on the streets instead of in care.

He kept her safe from the men
who liked to molest little girls,
darkly frustrated that it was
as much for their protection
as it was for her own.

Boomer didn't need a repetition
of what had happened to her father.

Danso stayed away from the drug dealers,
too, as much as he could when they were
everywhere in the bad parts of every town.

He knew how much of a trap addiction
could be, and didn't want it for either of them.

He dealt with the ever-present threat of
violence, from gangs defending their territory
to cops with a hate-on for poor kids.

When the stocky mugger came at them with
a knife, Danso spread his arms to give him
a clear view of the worn clothes and said,
"We look like we got any money?"

"You better," the young man said.

"So you think you got a right
to just take whatever you
want?" Danso said, glaring.

"Strong prey on the weak, man,"
the mugger said with a laugh.

"If that's the rule you want
to live by," Danso said, and
stripped the energy out of him
until he slumped to the pavement.

"Is ... is he dead?" Boomer whispered.

"No, but he'll wake up tomorrow with
the mother of all hangovers," said Danso.

"Good," Boomer said. She kicked
the limp body in the hip. Then she took
the knife. "He said that we could
have it, 'cause we're stronger."

"So we are, little sister," Danso said,
and hugged her. "So we are."

* * *

Notes:

"There's a level of protection you need to give to your kids, and then sometimes you need to just let them figure out things on their own."
-- Brody Jenner

Common threats to street children include hunger, exposure, accidents, sexual abuse, drug addiction, and violence. There are ways to live on the street and to fight youth homelessness.

Children need age-appropriate risks in order to develop their problem-solving skills. Overprotecting children causes problems. Instead, teach them to understand and manage risks.

Young people are attracted to playing in interesting -- sometimes dangerous -- places, such as junkyards. By contrast, most modern playgrounds are boring. Adventure playgrounds are more promising. Local-America has a few, but they're more popular in Terramagne-America. Read about their history.

Social Darwinism is what you get when you try to apply evolutionary principles to human culture. It's closely related to the "might makes right" principle. These are poor choices of morality in general, and downright bad ones to use with superkids.
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ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
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