Monstering

Disabled Women and Nonbinary People Celebrating Monsterhood

The Red:

a disease, a name
               I cannot remember. It pulls
at my cheeks like an aunt I never
liked. Kisses my lips,      stains me, 
doesn’t put me in the washing machine. 

I am some kind of new territory. 
                A power struggle. Fluid. 
I squeeze at my face, and dead white fish
      fall from underneath my skin. 
Turn to crimson, then—
           iridescent. 
      They gather in pools, not rivers, 
and I do my best to hide their carcasses. 
                   I bury them in water. 
                   Shrouds of washcloths. 
                   Embalming toothpaste
                   and different creams. 

My mother calls it habit
My father calls it problem.
I call it something fairy-tale: 
                    monster. 
                         Biped wolf.  
                                 The bad witch. 
                                              Immortal.

No one seems to understand
the body doing
             what the body does
             when it's not pretty to look at. 

My hands have become
            involuntary actions, 
always looking for bumps
            and thin skin to pull back
until regret has a rubbing alcohol sting. 

I always promise myself, 
                      I won't do it again. 
But hands don't listen. Hands don't know
                      how to stop. 

Sometimes I wonder if this can be classified as anything
         other than a hoarding of body—
                      a hoarding of shame.

 
 
A photo of a person from the chest-up, looking directly into the camera, sitting on a leather couch. The background behind her is a dark orange and an olive green. On the wall behind her there's a picture of a giraffe. There are many inanimate objects on the mantle behind her and the couch: two plants, two lamps, a bowl full of pinecones, and a small barrel that says "Golsch".

A photo of a person from the chest-up, looking directly into the camera, sitting on a leather couch. The background behind her is a dark orange and an olive green. On the wall behind her there's a picture of a giraffe. There are many inanimate objects on the mantle behind her and the couch: two plants, two lamps, a bowl full of pinecones, and a small barrel that says "Golsch".

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

LYDIA HAVENS is a poet and editor currently living in Boise, Idaho. Her work has previously been published or is forthcoming in Winter Tangerine, Cosmonauts Avenue, and Black Napkin Press, among others. Videos of her spoken word performances have been published on YouTube channels such as Button Poetry and Write About Now. Her first full-length collection, Survive Like the Water, was published by Rising Phoenix Press in 2017. Lydia currently works for Big Tree Arts Inc., and is a member of Boise's 2017 National Poetry Slam team. She really likes exclamation points and lizards.