Arsenic Lobster poetry journal Issue Thirty-nine
Winter 2015
And What About the Monster?
Susan Slaviero

Once upon a time there was a man who was a rattlesnake
when the moon waxed
and you thought he was the answer to a question
you kept asking
your parasitic twin and this
is the love you deserve the kind of love
reserved for the ugliest of insides all spleen
and necrosis, lungless
chests, the way of women who wear their organs
on the outside
before the autopsy.
But being the Monster isn’t always about body horror.

Sometimes it’s about psychology.
The Monster is a liar.
The Monster is a narcissist
who plays doctor but only in your headspace.
Gaslighting. The hidden messages
scratched on your breakfast toast
that warn of arsenic in the soda water,
of beetles ground in your morning
coffee. The Monster has a capacity for cruelty
that impresses even the mongoose.

There is a Monster hidden in every narrative:
love stories, documentaries,
even commercial breaks. Not all Monster stories
are fiction. Not all Monsters
are visibly ugly. If you cannot find the Monster
you must make one yourself.
This is easy. All you need is some plaster
of paris and a breadknife, or perhaps
a bit of bile and library paste.

Once you have made your Monster the story writes itself.

About Susan Slaviero

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