What is a Monster?

What is a monster?
A monster can be many things…

It can be a mammoth, man-eating marmoset,
Or an orange-tailed, origami orangutan
With ’orrible teeth and ’orrible breath,
Or even a nasty, nebulous neanderthal
From the next dimension.

Sometimes, though, a monster isn’t so easy to spot…

It can be the silence that settles
After someone says something insensitive
And no one speaks up,
Or the tears that trickle down your cheeks
When you feel left out,
Or the emptiness in the house
Once everyone has gone,
Or even the redness that remains
After someone has gotten hurt.

But whatever a monster looks like,
Whether it is humongous,
Or hardly higher than a hornet’s headdress,
Whether it comes from the gravely graveyard
Or the grumbly guy who hasn’t got a good thing to say,
There is one thing you ought to know:


All you have to do is turn it on,
With a flick of your finger
To frighten off the most fearful phantom,
With a sunny smile
To scare off the spookiest specter,
Or with a welcoming word
To ward off the wickedest werewolf,

And watch as that monster makes a mad dash,
Like millions of moldy maggots
Caught in a mudslide,
To find some other mass of murky darkness
Where it can muck around…

…Far away from a fearless monster-fighter
Like you.

Daniel Gene Barlekamp