A movie monster shares its bones with me. It pulls my teeth from the gums and replaces them with its own. I taste blood, mine, but this time I did ask for it (this time, this time). The monster and its friends show me how to bite, and where. They take me to their favorite haunts, and I learn to linger with them in the hollows of trees; the fog breathes with us, braids my hair. And maybe they don’t understand the appeal of a swing set, but when I ask, they push me higher and higher because they understand me. The movie monsters walk me home, and they tuck me into bed, and they hide in every corner while we wait for the living-monster to turn out the lights. And then, together, we eat him, and I taste his blood in my mouth for a change. This is the dream I cradle between the lamina of my spine. This is the dream that keeps me upright and crouches behind my eyes. This is the dream I remember at night, when I turn off my bedside lamp and sink into quilted shadows. A friend asks why I love the genre, and I tell her that the monsters gave me my grown-up teeth.
Isabel J Wallace is a queer writer and nurse working in Florida. The swamp has left her predisposed towards ghost stories and the certainty that something is always lurking just out of sight. She's been published in Malaise: a Horror Anthology, as well as in Quaranzine: poetry in the time of COVID-19.