The lucky girls grow up into
monsters. We start young, running
over grass and mud and rocks, building
up the thick skin on our feet, our strong hides
growing up over our bodies. We learn Mine and
No, and we learn hunger and want. Our fingernails
grow into claws and we sharpen our teeth
into fangs and we let the hair grow wild
over our bodies.
Once that first transformation is complete, we
mature. We learn to disguise ourselves as
princesses, to paint our faces
into something trustworthy, to
rip out our fur and soften our claws
with Blossom Pink 063. We build up our
packs, matrilineal sisterhoods sharing secrets,
looking out for each other like no one looked out
for us before.
We hunt in groups, taking out our
predators before they can recognize us, defending ourselves
with teeth and nails and secret tricks
that have no names. We feed on the
hunters and the woodsmen and the princes
who would ensnare us, who would
make us soft and vulnerable. We are not for them,
we are for ourselves, and we return to our caves,
and our sisters comb out our hair and tear off our masks
and revel in our ferocity.
KAT RIDDELL is a writer and librarian currently based in South Dakota. She shares an apartment with an unfathomable mass of houseplants, an assortment of bones, and a truly overwhelming stash of craft supplies. She likes petting dogs, long walks in cemeteries, and lawns filled with dandelions. You can find her online at katriddellwrites.blogspot.com.