ysabetwordsmith: Damask smiling over their shoulder (polychrome)
[personal profile] ysabetwordsmith
This poem is spillover from the April 1, 2014 Poetry Fishbowl. It was inspired by prompts from [personal profile] mdlbear and [personal profile] aldersprig.  It also fills the "cool / nippy" square in the Spring and Autumn Bingo public card.  This poem has been sponsored by [personal profile] chanter_greenie. This poem belongs to the Calliope thread in the Polychrome Heroics series.

"April Showers"

The card came inside
a green and yellow envelope
with booties and bunnies on the front.
Closer inspection revealed that
the booties had skate blades
and the bunnies were snowshoe hares.

Calliope was surprised to receive
an invitation to Jackie Frost's baby shower.
She had never been to one before,
and even as Calvin the last was decades ago,
toddling along behind Mom to Aunt Fanny's.

Calliope confirmed her attendance,
then called her gender coach
and said, "Help!"

After an hour of patient explanation,
Calliope knew that it was perfectly okay
to pick a gift off the registry list
instead of trying to guess
about someone she didn't know well,
that the point of a baby shower
was not just gifts but female bonding
and time to share parenting advice,
along with other helpful hints.

The day of the baby shower
came with a cold gray rain,
and the living room was cool
because Jackie Frost
couldn't tolerate much heat,
but Calliope was happy
to use her wind powers
to help the guests dry off.

The party games ranged from
thoughtful (an observation challenge)
to sweet (making a scrapbook)
to ludicrous (bobbing for nipples).

Older mothers shared stories
about childbirth and babies,
the problems that could come up
and how to cope with them.

Calliope felt grateful that it was
impossible to die of embarrassment.
Jackie Frost's fourteen-year-old niece
Alyssa was in the same boat, though,
so they were able to commiserate.

It made Calliope wonder
if she could have a baby,
and whether she'd want one
(Calvin never had, but then
Calliope was not Calvin)
which made her think about
needing a father for said baby.

Perhaps she could learn
to think of men in that way,
as possible fathers, but
clearly it would take some practice.

Calliope felt that she would
need to spend time just
getting to know a fellow first,
before thinking about love or
marriage or a baby carriage.

They played baby gift bingo
while the mother-to-be
opened the mountain of presents.

Outside the nippy spring weather
continued to drown the yard,
but inside there were smiling suns
and pinwheels and duckies
all over everything.

Then Calliope noticed a faint
but definite shimmer of light,
delicate as an aurora through clouds,
coming from under the maternity top.

"Uh, you're glowing," Calliope said.
"Thank you," said Jackie Frost.

"No, I mean, you're glowing,"
Calliope insisted, pointing at
the flicker of colorful lights.

Jackie Frost looked down at
her enormous baby bump.
"Yes, that's been happening
for about a week now," she said.
"No need for us to wait
to find out which it is,
soup or nary."

Calliope was really glad
that she'd paid extra for
a dexflan onesie, just in case.

Finally Jackie Frost's mother
brought out refreshments --
ice cream cake, of course,
with a fruit plate and lemonade --
then herded everyone toward the table.

She put Alyssa and Calliope
beside each other at the foot,
telling them with a fond wink,
"Let's seat the two new women together."

Until that very moment,
Calliope had not realized
how much a rite of passage
could really mean to her.

* * *


Jackie Frost (Jacqueline Tremblay) -- She is a tiny superhera from Canada with ice powers. She began as a figure skater and had a near-death experience on the ice. Now she can create ice anywhere and she fights with her skate blades. She has a slim, straight body with flat hip-to-waist ratio. She stands 5'1" and weighs 95 lbs.
Origin: While practicing on a frozen lake, Jacqueline tangled with another skater; she cut herself on the blades and nearly bled to death. The cold of the ice kept her from dying. After healing, Jacqueline discovered that she could produce and control ice.
Uniform: Figure skating dress in white and light blue with a snowflake pattern, and white ice skates. The dress is made of dexflan to cope with her powers.
Qualities: Expert (+4) Figure Skater, Good (+2) French-Canadian Culture, Good (+2) Skate Fighting, Good (+2) Women's Studies
Poor (-2) Little Bit of a Thing
Powers: Expert (+4) Ice Powers, Good (+2) Speed
Ice Powers is a meta-power that includes Create Ice (Signature Stunts: Frost Mirror, Frost Screen, Ice Path, Ice Shackles, Ice Slick), Control Ice, and Ice Body (Spin-Off Stunts: Ice Gauntlets, Skates of Ice. She is currently trying to spin off Ice Missiles from Create Ice, but her aim isn't good enough to hit anything yet.
Vulnerability: Always sensitive to heat, Jacqueline now has very little tolerance for anything much above room temperature. She feels tired and queasy in warm temperatures. At 80ºF she takes a downshift to her superpowers, and another downshift for every 10ºF above that. Her Qualities start downshifting at 90ºF.
Motivation: Protect and pursue the Arts.
Model: Tara Lipinski, figure skating, 5'1" 95 lbs.

Calliope (Calvin Sanna) -- Calliope comes from Oklahoma; the father's family is Greek-American, while the mother's family is American. Calliope has light olive skin with gray eyes and short hair in shades of lighter and darker blond. Cal is demiromantic demisexual.
Origin: Sucked into a tornado.
Uniform: Feminine-styled costume of dexflan and capery in dusty shades of pink, blue, lavender, and cream.
Powers: Expert (+4) Air Powers (meta-power including Flight, Phasing, Sonic Blast, Tornado Straws, Whirlwind, Windtalking), Average (0) Empathy, Average (0) Shapeshifting
Vulnerability: Air Powers are opposed by Earth Powers. Some Air abilities do not work on an Earth-powered opponent, and vice versa, typically those meant to affect a person directly. Others gain an upshift on damage, typically attacks.
Limitation: So far the Shapeshifting only works to switch between Calvin and Calliope. As the power improves, additional shapes may be gained.
Motivation: Self-discovery.

* * *

See a pattern for Ice Skate Booties.

Snowshoe hares are distinguished by their varying coat, black-tipped ears, and enormous feet.

As a rite of passage, baby showers are changing over time. Baby shower etiquette helps the mother-to-be manage expectations. There are tips for hosting a baby shower. Know what to expect as a guest. Many games and other activities are part of the fun.

Cal is demiromantic demisexual, and would require an emotional connection before discovering whether a sexual or romantic attraction might develop.

Rites of passage mark transitions between different life stages or social roles. A womanhood ceremony typically occurs after menarche, but many male-to-female transsexuals also celebrate their transition. Blessingway is one option for new mothers.

Awkwardness, speculation and--

Date: 2014-07-17 04:38 am (UTC)
dialecticdreamer: My work (Default)
From: [personal profile] dialecticdreamer
inclusion. I love the dynamics playing out with the two women who hadn't attended a baby shower before, and the grandmother-to-be acting as hostess/matriarch.

I've found that as someone with decent-to-superior handwork skills (sewing, quilting, crochet, knitting, embroidery, and more) and a willingness to /make/ a baby gift, I got invited to A LOT of baby showers. There really is a learning curve for the whole event, and different subcultures may have entirely different setups for a "standard baby shower."

I think my favorite bit isn't the glowing abdomen, which is funny, but the utter BOG of rain. It just seemed to fit.

(no subject)

Date: 2014-07-29 04:00 pm (UTC)
lynnoconnacht: (Default)
From: [personal profile] lynnoconnacht
Yay more Calliope poems!

I love those final lines. You write the best end verses. They make me cry with happiness for Calliope. I've never been to a baby shower either, so I had a lot of fun with learning how they work as well. It made a lovely additional connection to Calliope as I read this too. She seems like such a sweet person. ^_^ And I loved how warm and welcoming the baby shower felt and the way she helped dry the guests.

Thank you for sharing! ^_^

Re: Thank you!

Date: 2014-07-30 09:00 am (UTC)
lynnoconnacht: (Default)
From: [personal profile] lynnoconnacht
Now they can be co-ed if people want, and there's more emphasis on activities.

That sounds lovely. ^_^ Especially one along these lines that takes the guests into account too.

I'm always watching for ways that people use superpowers for everyday stuff. It's not just for fighting supervillains. Soups are powered all the time. They have to think through the ways that they could use their abilities.

You do a good job of capturing that in all of the poems I've read. ^-^ (Well, for me anyway. Other readers may disagree, of course.) The focus on the quieter everyday life is probably one of the reasons I enjoy the series so much.

(no subject)

Date: 2014-07-17 05:14 am (UTC)
ext_3294: Tux (Default)
From: [identity profile] technoshaman.livejournal.com
Awwwwww. You and endings again. :)

Thank you!

Date: 2014-07-17 05:41 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ysabetwordsmith.livejournal.com
I'm glad you enjoyed this so much.

(no subject)

Date: 2014-07-18 04:40 am (UTC)
ext_12246: (Default)
From: [identity profile] thnidu.livejournal.com
Not that it's a problem, but did you mean to have "Cal is demiromantic demisexual" in two different places in the notes?


Date: 2014-07-18 06:16 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ysabetwordsmith.livejournal.com
If you mean in the character description and then the discussion with the links, yes.

(no subject)

Date: 2015-02-27 04:40 pm (UTC)
ride_4ever: (Oh Canada)
From: [personal profile] ride_4ever
Super powers for Canadians! \o/

(no subject)

Date: 2017-03-26 02:51 am (UTC)
alatefeline: Painting of a cat asleep on a book. (Default)
From: [personal profile] alatefeline
I really enjoyed the 'new women' bit. I once participated in a rite to celebrate two young women turning 18 and 23-ish respectively, and while it was beautiful and worked for them, afterwards I felt very strongly that I wished I could have been asked-in instead of asking-in, because I've never felt quite like a real grown-up woman. Though now I'd prefer a genderfree adulthood ceremony, which would be quite different in nuance.

Re: Thoughts

Date: 2017-03-26 05:02 am (UTC)
alatefeline: Painting of a cat asleep on a book. (Default)
From: [personal profile] alatefeline

...Where could I find that article?


ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)

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