Monsters by Michelle Muenzler

My mother was a monster.
She crackled and growled
like a river of glacial ice.
Her hands were frozen
in connection with my cheek.
I wanted nothing more than to run away.
I ran often.

Once, I ran forever.

August was too hot, too dry,
too red.
The neon lights made promises
of freedom, fame, and fire
–so much fire!
I fled the monster,
left her howling winter at my heels.
She could not catch me.

But monsters are made, not born.

My daughter knows this.
Already, my frozen palms
dance across her bones,
carve want into her too-soft cheeks.

When she’s older,
she will clamber out a window,
any window,
and flee into the night.
August will undo her,
strip her bare and leave her dangling from a pole.
But I will not catch her.
Perhaps I will not even try

because she too will be a monster, someday.
Ice will crack her bones,
her throat will clot with snow

and her hands
–her beautiful, delicate, snowflake hands–
will snap like arctic gales and
one day
shape a monster all her own.


Michelle Muenzler, also known at local conventions as “The Cookie Lady,” writes fiction both dark and strange to counterbalance the sweetness of her baking. Her poetry has been published in magazines such as Through the Gate, Star*Line, and Dreams & Nightmares, and she takes immense joy in crinkling words like little foil puppets.

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