ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
[personal profile] ysabetwordsmith
This poem came out of the February 6, 2018 Poetry Fishbowl. It was inspired by prompts from [personal profile] fyreharper and [personal profile] ng_moonmoth. It also fills the "cuddling" square in my 1-31-18 Platonic card for the Valentines Bingo fest. This poem has been sponsored by [personal profile] ng_moonmoth. It belongs to the series An Army of One.


When Astin returned to Sargasso Base,
xe was gratified to find that the Cabinet Cow
was already yielding its full quota of
fifteen gallons of milk per day
from each of its ten units.

Not only was there milk to drink,
but people were making butter
and cheese from the extra.

Sam the Gardener had gotten
his hydroponics up and running.
He even developed a barrel version
that anyone could grow in a small area,
or hook together for a larger garden.

Astin had chipped in with xyr neighbors
to establish a community garden in
an empty room, and now they had
fresh herbs and salad greens.

"This place is turning into
a real pied-à-terre," said Dash.

Astin shook xyr head. "Pied-à-ciel,"
xe said. "It's a piece of sky,
not a piece of earth."

Whatever it was, Astin
wanted to show it off.

Xe met up with Palmer
and asked, "Would you like
to come over to my place
for lunch and a cuddle?"

"I'd love to," she replied.

So Astin picked fresh herbs and
salad greens for a mesclun mix,
along with some assorted vegetables.

Xe baked vegetable pot pies and
made a soft herb salad with dressing
of butter and slivered almonds
toasted with red pepper.

Welcome to my pied-à-ciel,"
Astin said when Palmer arrived.

She laughed. "That's a good way
to put it. What smells so yummy?"

"Vegetable pot pie," said Astin.
"It should be done by the time we
finish the salad." Xe set down
the bowls with a flourish.

The leaves were tender and
sweet; the butter dressing
was rich and spicy, while
the almonds added a crunch.

It was pleasant to share a meal
instead of eating alone as Astin
usually did. Their bodies bumped
together now and then, each touch
a gentle reassurance of company.

When the timer chimed, then
Astin got up to fetch the pot pies,
their crusts golden and steaming.

Palmer made noises of pleasure
as she dug into her dish. "This
is just amazing," she said.
"You can really cook!"

"It's a hobby," Astin said.
"It keeps me from going crazy
during the longer voyages, but
I can do more in a stationary kitchen."

Then xe brought out the bowl
of strawberries for dessert,
making Palmer squeal and
throw her arms around xyr.

Astin didn't tense up this time.
They were getting used to each other.
It was nice to have that connection.

Palmer noticed it too. "You're
finally starting to relax," she said,
popping a strawberry in her mouth.
"I'm really happy to see that."

"Me too," Astin said softly.
"I don't always understand it,
but I do appreciate it."

"It is what it is," Palmer said.
"I think that's a good thing."

"What do we even call this?"
Astin said, waving a hand
between their bodies.

"We could be touch buddies?"
Palmer said. "It doesn't have to be
anything sexual, or anything particular
that we don't want it to be. It's not like
we have to follow anyone else's rules."

"That works for me," Astin said.

After lunch, they moved to
Astin's couch for a cuddle,
chatting about what they had
done since their last meeting.

Astin had a foot in the sky
and xyr head in Palmer's lap,

and that was perfect.

* * *


Astin -- an other-gendered trader, neurotypical, friends with Weavercreep and Operetta. Astin likes clothes of ambiguous colors, such as honey and mauve, with shapes that are easy to customize. Similarly, practical yet attractive furniture of androgynous style is preferred, blending straight and curved lines. Introduced in "Uncounted Colors of the Stars." Astin uses the "xe" set of pronouns: xe is, xyr book, with xyr, of xyrs, and xyrself.

Dash -- a neurovariant man, he lives at Sargasso Base. He is the bartender at the Flask of Phlegethon, a tavern established shortly after the war, and has known Astin since the trader's first visit to the base. Introducted in "Who Is Devoid of the Power."

Palmer -- a neurovariant woman who does massage. She lives at Sargasso Base. She is friends with Shuttlecock and Astin. She has freckles on her nose. Introduced in "What the Scissors Have Cut Asunder."

* * *

A pied-à-terre (French pronunciation: ​[pjetaˈtɛʁ]; French for "foot on the ground") is a small living unit usually located in a large city some distance away from an individual's primary residence. It may be an apartment or condominium.
-- Wikipedia

noun /skaɪ/
[ singular ] the open air above the earth
the wide starry sky over the desert -- le vaste ciel étoilé au-dessus du désert
-- English-French Dictionary

Based in space, the Lacuna refers to such a residence as a pied-à-ciel instead.

A Cabinet Cow is a vat of cultured udder tissue that gives milk. One cabinet will produce about 15 gallons of milk per day, similar to a Holstein cow. They are often rigged together in banks for mass production.

A hydroponic herb garden may be designed in various ways. Sam the Gardener has various types of hydroponic farm systems on Supply Base Bounty 3D3N. The barrel garden style has six trays above a large central reservoir, each of which can hold various numbers of pots depending on size. It resembles a Rainforest Garden. Herbs are among the easiest plants to grow in a hydroponic garden.

A Soft Herb Salad combines salad leaves with herbs; enjoy a recipe. This one features mesclun, a mix of different leaves.

Vegetarian Pot Pie is a delicious recipe.

(no subject)

Date: 2018-02-12 05:30 am (UTC)
alatefeline: Painting of a cat asleep on a book. (Default)
From: [personal profile] alatefeline
Yay, yay, yay!

Buddies setting their own expectations! The concept of a pied-a-ciel! Tasty salad!


(no subject)

Date: 2018-02-12 07:39 pm (UTC)
mdlbear: (space colony)
From: [personal profile] mdlbear

(no subject)

Date: 2018-02-14 04:19 am (UTC)
kyleri: (Default)
From: [personal profile] kyleri


ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)

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