There is a savage living behind my breastbone. She has no patience and no grace.

She speaks in short, angry sentences. She bites me when I equivocate and screams when I use long words.

The savage speaks loudly, proudly. She is not small.

She’s proud of me when I’m truthful, but she scratches when I lie.

I don’t belong to her.

I belong to her.

She wakes me sometimes in the night. I grew up learning how to hide her bite. I am a monster. She is a monster.

She is my monster.

When you sprinkle me with doubt, when you belittle me, when you grind your waxy flakes of hatred onto me like the Parmesan on the tangled pasta of my mien, it is her voice that cracks back at you, and her rage that pours through me like fire. It is her boiling juice that burns you, and only the face on the front of it is mine.

She is a mother, but not a soft, beautiful mother with a quiet infant.

My monster is a battle-mother, of grown warriors, dripping with bile and ugly with blood. My monster has no mercy, no pity, no pain. She will not listen to your excuses. She will give no quarter.

You should fear her.

I fear her.

Because I contain her, I cannot be a girl.

When I cannot contain her, I cannot be a girl.

I am no soft young thing with winged eyeliner; I am no pretty child ornament. I am not the held breath awaiting your pronouncements. I am chaos, not domesticity. I am night and wind.

I will tear you.

She will tear you.

She will help me tear you.

We can tell from the way you hold your eyes how dutiful you are, whether you are holding back tears every time you have to speak in front of people. We know whether you can afford your car and how long it will take you to give in.

We’ve been broke, and broken.

We feel what that looks like.

You should run.

I still write sometimes, and I have a buttload of already-written stuff. So there you go.

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