they tell the monster to be more like them
to quench its howls
to pluck its hair
to hide the blood on its back teeth

and the monster does

27 days of the month it is tame
but the hair grows back darker than before
no sunlight left to turn it golden
the howls escape their fortress
push against the cage of teeth
the monster bites at itself to quell its thirst
and the blood drips anyway

so it wraps itself in delicacy
tries to be anything but a threat
files its claws into half-moons
paints its snarl baby-pink

but when they tell it to smile, baby
it bears its fangs

when they tug at its skirts
all they find is fur

when they try to break it
they find they can’t

call me monster, baby
I’ll show you my teeth

the moon is always watching
and the monster is always there
beneath the skin

all girls were once born wolves

call me monster, baby
make me howl

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