Monstering

Disabled Women and Nonbinary People Celebrating Monsterhood

Sideshow

CW: Ableism, death

 

when you run into an old friend / for the first time in years /
smile wide / call them by their name / ask them about these
lost days / all the things that have passed / like rivers
between you

when their eyes wander / across your body like tourists
rediscovering a city they once knew / pretend not to notice
pretend they do not notice / the tree that has grown / its way
out of your palm / twisted in the dirt / the way that you walk
crooked / slowly / on one more leg than you used to

when they open their mouth like a palm / snatch their
questions from the fingers of their teeth / your lips are
chapped with answers / jaw heavy with this story // 
fathers boot on chest / ribs cracked like wishbones / boy
grows crooked / like trees in the wind

when you speak this story / feel how light it becomes / how
you have learned / to amputate the unnecessary / cut
vestigial words like cloth / till sentences trickle / off the
tongue / as broken as this body

when they keep staring / [like the three legged man / is only
a side show / in this one-man circus] / be patient / maybe
they are just trying to understand // scarlet lips / eyelids
sprouting black wings / stubble jutting through soft skin / like
a bed of nails / you are the bearded lady / they never
expected you to be

when they open their mouths / to speak / fill them with the
word freak / let it echo around the room / like gunshots / like
a lion tamer's whip / let it keep filling up the room / until both
of you are drowning

when their words swim to you / across this ocean
you have poured into their throat / play them back
with the needle scratch of your eardrums // it's good to see
you again
// agree / as if you never expected them to say
any different

when you go to sleep tonight / play back the words again
remember how easily you imagined pitchforks on their lips
how a moment of silence can stretch / long enough to hang
yourself on

when you wake in the morning / remember their kindness /
again / remember the noose of silence / remember that so
often / you are the one who kicks the chair

 
 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

A white genderqueer trans womxn standing in front of a white background. She has curly silver hair and is wearing a black dress. They are wearing red lipstick, red and gold eyeshadow, and winged eyeliner. There are three black dots under their left eye and a silver ring in their ear. She is balancing a light wooden cane over her shoulders.

A white genderqueer trans womxn standing in front of a white background. She has curly silver hair and is wearing a black dress. They are wearing red lipstick, red and gold eyeshadow, and winged eyeliner. There are three black dots under their left eye and a silver ring in their ear. She is balancing a light wooden cane over her shoulders.

TORRIN A. GREATHOUSE (they/them or she/her pronouns) is a genderqueer, cripple-punk from Southern California. She is the Editor-in-Chief of Black Napkin Press. Their work is published or forthcoming in Bettering American Poetry, The Offing, Duende, Apogee, Frontier, Lunch Ticket, Assaracus, and Glass: Journal of Poetry. She is a 2016 Best New Poets, and Pushcart Prize nominee, and semifinalist for the Adroit Poetry Prize. torrin's first chapbook, Therǝ is a Case That I Ɐm, is forthcoming from Damaged Goods Press in 2017. When they are not writing, their hobbies include pursuing a bachelors degree, awkwardly drinking coffee at parties, and trying to find some goddamn size 13 heels.