ysabetwordsmith: Paranormal detective Brenda in a wheelchair (PIE)
[personal profile] ysabetwordsmith
This poem came out of the December 1, 2015 Poetry Fishbowl. It was inspired by prompts from [personal profile] shiori_makiba, [personal profile] redsixwing, and LJ user Ng_moonmoth. It also fill the "unnatural (events, weather, beings)" square in my 10-2-15 card for the [community profile] ladiesbingo fest, and the "lonely" square in my 12-1-15 card for the Defining Character fest. This poem has been sponsored by LJ user Ng_moonmoth. It belongs to the series P.I.E.


"Sakura Snow"


It was the cold snap in cherry-blossom season
that had Brenda's phone ringing off the desk.

Then there were all the reports of ghost women
and disappearing rice and other odd phenomena.
There had even been several cases of men who
were kidnapped and found as statues of ice,
but when the ice melted, they were fine.

"What do you think it could be?" Darrel asked
as he helped Brenda put the snow tires
back onto her hiking wheelchair.

Brenda deftly spun the tool in her fingers.
"I don't know," she said. "We've already
crossed off yeti and wendigo. I still think
that abominable snowman is ridiculous."

Darrel spread his hands. "We were
brainstorming. The whole point is
to come up with wild ideas and then
pick through to find the good ones."

So the two of them went hiking through
the cherry orchard that seemed to be
the center of the strange events.

The pretty pink-and-white blossoms
were sheathed in ice, and the pale drifts
under the trees were a mix of petals and snow.

"The orchardist will have a hard time staying
in business after this," Darrel observed.

"It's sad," Brenda said, brushing her fingertips
over dead flowers that would bear no fruit.

"Life is sad," said a voice that sounded
like the whisper of snowflakes on ice.

Brenda executed a perfect spin
and found herself facing a woman with
long black hair, white-gold skin, and blue lips.

"Who are you?" Darrel asked.

"I am Oyuki-san," she said.
"Someone prayed to me
out of season, and I was just
going to do a little frost-sketching,
but I was so lonely and there were
so many people here to see
the sakura season ..."

"You didn't want to leave,"
Brenda guessed. Her fingers
drummed on the arm of her wheelchair.
"I know what it's like to be lonely,
to be starving for company."

"Yes," said Oyuki-san,"
"perhaps you do."

"Have you thought about
getting a pet or something
to keep you company?"
Darrel asked thoughtfully.

"Where I live it is very cold,"
said Oyuki-san. "Most animals
would not survive there."

"Colder than Siberia?" Darrel said.

"Well ... no, I suppose not," said Oyuki-san.

"I know just the thing," Darrel said.

It took them some pulling of strings and
calling in of favors and more than a little cash,
but in the end they managed to procure
a domesticated silver fox from Russia.

The half-grown cub had bright blue eyes and
a warm gray coat liberally splashed with white.
It wriggled in Oyuki-san's hands, licked
the salty tears from her cheeks, and
wagged its tiny, white-tipped tail.

"How can I thank you enough?"
she whispered into the soft fur.

"Can you fix the orchard?"
Brenda asked. "The men
were okay after the ice melted,
but cherry blossoms are so delicate,
they won't fruit after a frost. That
would be hard on the owner."

Oyuki-san breathed upon the trees,
and the ice melted away, leaving
only the drifts of pink petals.

"In the summer," she said,
"there will come cherries."

* * *

Notes:


Snow tires help wheelchairs travel over snow, sand, or mud.

Oyuki-san is a Japanese snow spirit.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yuki-onna

Sakura means "cherry blossom" in Japanese, with a lot of cultural significance.

Loneliness is regret for being isolated. It is as deadly as smoking, obesity, and alcohol. Here are some ways of overcoming loneliness.

Russian foxes have been a fascinating experiment in domestication, but the program is at risk due to low funding. They come in various colors; Oyuki-san's fox is gray-and-white like these. One of the more interesting things this experiment has revealed is a cluster of genes associated with domestication such as the white-spotting gene and floppy ears. When you start selecting for a sweet temper, a whole bunch of other stuff just comes along for the ride.

Yay!

Date: 2015-12-08 12:04 am (UTC)
shiori_makiba: Makiba Shiori in Kanji and Roman Letters (Default)
From: [personal profile] shiori_makiba
Hooray! This got sponsored! Now everyone can enjoy it! ^_^

As I say before, it's just perfect.

Your fly-paper for eyeballs thing struck again because I hadn't gotten to P.I.E. before reading this and then had to go read those poems immediately.

(no subject)

Date: 2015-12-08 01:27 am (UTC)
thnidu: warm red heart on orange streaked background (heart)
From: [personal profile] thnidu
Oh, this is sweet. I'm sending the link to my grown kids: one a big anime fan, the other just done with five years of teaching English in Japan.

For future reference

Date: 2015-12-14 03:44 am (UTC)
thnidu: Tom Baker's Dr. Who, as an anthropomorphic hamster, in front of the Tardis. ©C.T.D'Alessio http://tinyurl.com/9q2gkko (Dr. Whomster)
From: [personal profile] thnidu
My daughter remarked that the character would not say "I am Oyuki-san", because -san is an honorific and one does not apply it to oneself. I don't remember if she suggested an alternative, (we were Skyping, not emailing or texting, so I don't have a transcript), but I'm pretty sure something like "I am called Oyuki" would be acceptable as (a translation of) an appropriate wording.
Edited Date: 2015-12-14 03:54 am (UTC)

(no subject)

Date: 2015-12-08 01:30 am (UTC)
wyld_dandelyon: (Guitar Angel)
From: [personal profile] wyld_dandelyon
Awwwwwwww.

(no subject)

Date: 2015-12-08 02:07 am (UTC)
chanter_greenie: a cream-colored yellow Labrador lying at the top of a staircase, one paw draped over the top step (mellow yellow)
From: [personal profile] chanter_greenie
Awwwwww. I want to snuggle the fox. <3

In summer, there will come cherries. Warm fuzzies, activate!

Re: Yay!

Date: 2015-12-08 04:08 am (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
As criteria for domestication go, obedience, for all that many domestic animals fail to meet it, has the virtue of being easily quantifiable. Habituation to human companionship, while a better criterion qualitatively (and one more domestic species meet), is fuzzier, measurement-wise.

--Jessica

Re: Yay!

Date: 2015-12-08 05:02 am (UTC)
mama_kestrel: (Default)
From: [personal profile] mama_kestrel
When I read about the domestication experiment, they said that originally they chose for friendliness toward humans. Obedience came much later.

Re: Yay!

Date: 2015-12-08 12:01 pm (UTC)
chanter_greenie: a slightly faded picture of a three-legged torbie kitty cat (supermodel kitty)
From: [personal profile] chanter_greenie
Friendliness to/willingness to coexist peaceably with humans seems a much more sensible criterion for domestication, IMO. See lap cat people kitty icon.

*snuggles the waggy (!) fox*

It was the slightly archaic phrasing and the intent of that last line that got me. It read a little like some of the wording out of the The Dark Is Rising sequence, or similar. :)

Re: Yay!

Date: 2015-12-14 03:48 am (UTC)
thnidu: plus sign (plus)
From: [personal profile] thnidu
It read a little like some of the wording out of the The Dark Is Rising sequence, or similar. :)

Yes!

(no subject)

Date: 2015-12-08 03:38 am (UTC)
mdlbear: (happy-turtle)
From: [personal profile] mdlbear
Cherries! Fox! Yay!

(no subject)

Date: 2015-12-08 03:20 pm (UTC)
redsixwing: Red-winged angel staring at a distant star. (Default)
From: [personal profile] redsixwing
Awwwww. <3

Very nice!

Date: 2015-12-08 03:18 am (UTC)
ng_moonmoth: The Moon-Moth (Default)
From: [personal profile] ng_moonmoth
>> "In the summer", she said
"There will come cherries." <<

This is so very evocative. And sweet! And such a nice touch, Brenda asking Oyuki-san to grant her boon to the orchardist, who would otherwise have been hurt by Oyuki-san's actions.

And that fox is just too darn cute. Oyuki-san will have a good deal of fun with it.

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