You asked me what's the scariest monster I've ever seen, but I don't know. Cartoon monsters aren't scary, not animated ones or those in B films. Blockbuster monsters are usually misunderstood males for kids to love in the end. Come on. you say around a malty mouthful, your eyebrow ring glinting. You trot back to the kitchen for another, never bothered that you're drinking alone. What about serial killers or men who rape women? you say, eyes soft, glassy, vocal cords loose, mouth easy, ready to grin. You've got to have a scariest? What about death? I shake my head, shrug. I say, I think we read Grendel in school. He was a monster. He had a bad mom, or maybe it was a bad sister. I pinch the bridge of my nose and start to answer truthfully, but you're nodding off as you sip, the bottle loose in your calloused hands. I know I could tell you anything, any bright, delicious, mercurial lie. I could say I've ridden in death's cart where the mountainous sky is big and golden. I could say death is my sister, a woman who rules a darkness of rough men. I could say monsters aren't real, but instead, I tug your hand and lead you from the couch to sleep on my spare. Streetlight falls across your thighs, your punk tee shirt. The nightlight turns your face green. You squeeze my hands and say, I love you, even though we've just met.
Laura Madeline Wiseman is the author of Some Fatal Effects of Curiosity and Disobedience (Lavender Ink, 2014), Queen of the Platform (Anaphora Literary Press, 2013), Sprung (San Francisco Bay Press, 2010), and the collaborative book Intimates and Fools (Les Femmes Folles Books, 2014) with artist Sally Deskins, as well as two letterpress books, and eight chapbooks, including Spindrift (Dancing Girl Press, 2014). She is the editor of Women Write Resistance: Poets Resist Gender Violence (Hyacinth Girl Press, 2013). Wiseman has a doctorate from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. She has received an Academy of American Poets Award, the Wurlitzer Foundation Fellowship, and her work has appeared in Prairie Schooner, Mid-American Review, Margie, and Feminist Studies. www.lauramadelinewiseman.com