Monsters Within
by Susan Beall Summers



I became interested in monsters
because I became one,
trying to unplug a radio from an extension cord,
My small hands were weak.
My body shook as current passed
between prongs
until moist spittle on my lips burned away.

It was a beautiful Sunday,
and we had skipped church.
I was admonished to clean my room.
Mom froze at my far-away scream.
The air conditioner outside my window growled
like a werewolf.
I became Wile E. Coyote,
seeing stars and bright spots.
The cord fell away and I staggered,
Frankenstein's monster, arms outstretched,
eyes unfocused as the room pitched and rolled
while grey foam came from my mouth.
Strong arms rushed me to the sink.
I fought the water like a rabid dog.

Electricity takes the path of least resistance.
Tissue damage was not immediately apparent,
perhaps plastic surgery in the future…
for now the taste of Neosporin.

People recoiled from my swollen face
and huge, ugly scabs covering the scar.
I ate through a straw for weeks,
and delighted in chasing children on the playground.
Something within me had literally sparked to life.

I rushed home from school to watch Dark Shadows
with the elegant Barnabus Collins.
Count Justin Sane thrilled me, his maniacal laugh
as host of Shock Theatre.
I drew monsters, built monster mazes,
created haunted houses, and made up scary stories.
I was no longer just a pretty little girl-
I was scarred, and I found the power to surprise, frighten,
and dare I say it – shock.
When did I become so grounded?





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