I see them sometimes, monsters—monsters running down
the upstairs hall, monsters stepping into shadows of the
darker room, monsters peeking around corners, their
colorful eyes blinking. I’m not sure if the neighbors have
them, the skeletal man with bad knees who pushes a broom
at the high school, the military men with their uncastrated
dogs, the white apple-pie bodied family next door, or the
retired librarian with her bearded son. What would a late
professor’s wife do with monsters? Make them milk tea
and give them the swisher? Sometimes when I’m weeding
the mint, I hear monsters among the dead tree branches. I
listen to their scramble along the disintegrating roof tiles.
The grass swishes behind me, the heaviness of breath, the
groan of wire, and I know monstrous legs are swinging
over my fence. I never turn around. I weed. Any time a
hairy finger could tap me on the shoulder, saying low,
Remember us? You say about the bills, a pad to replace on
your kickstand, a faulty ignition in the van, I’ll just pay for
it. Make it go away. I collect all my weeds for the garbage
bin, toss the garden trimming into the compost. I stand,
looking up to the trees, and think I’ll ask you, When do you
reach the point when you’ve paid enough?
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, 2012), 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.