Content Warnings: alcohol consumption, misogyny
“Frankenstein’s Creature Comes Out as Trans at Sadako’s Halloween Party” by Richaundra Thursday
718 words, Poetry
CW: alcohol consumption, misogyny
The festivities began hours ago
No strangers to long nights here.
The hors d'oeuvres were excellent:
Stolen delectables from every filmed cuisine
(The recent trend for epic fantasies
Providing most courses).
There were drinks for those so inclined
And other drinks for those not,
The host being nothing if not observant.
The creature clears a throat
With the rumble of an alpine avalanche,
The clear eyes scan faces:
Mirthful, gloomy, but most of all
As you know, I often struggle
Being my authentic self.
When people see me,
A hundred labels cover me like luggage.
It’s fine when I’m obscured
Behind a wall or an avatar,
Nothing but friendly voices
But as soon as they see my face,
My words; my experience mean nothing.
Fiddles with glass, still full of whatever
Pazuzu poured, the liquid now flat as conversation;
Stares through it, as if waiting
For a whisky oracle.
Everyone stays stilled,
The background soundtrack of their minds
Held in one tense pause.
Continues, words forced out like infants,
Voice soft, as if afraid they’d arrive miscarried:
I am what society makes of me:
A patchwork dream of control.
People ask why I didn’t simply
Tell him to build
For me a sterile mate,
As if that too I should have
Given up, when he had already decided
Everything else, this choice too
I should have relinquished.
And so, after much reflection
On myself, and the world
I’ve come to a realization,
And I wanted to share it now
Because Halloween is when
We can most be ourselves:
Am a woman.
Rushes on, as if to build scaffold
Under a now dropped porcelain ball:
I mean think about it:
I was made as companion
To man who only saw rival,
I am well read, passionate, thoughtful
Yet constantly dismissed.
My agency regarded as horror,
Self-reliance as threat
Yet attempts at socialization, an abomination.
I am hounded by a system which
Not only perpetuates male entitlement
But rewards it!
Yet I seek even a fraction for myself
And I am coded villain,
My frustration read as hysterical,
Anger as daemonic,
Intelligence as deviousness.
And then to not even get a say
In my own reproductive process,
It all makes sense.
(Sadako says nothing, but closes her eyes.)
Besides, I’ve never felt totally right
In my own skin. Skins.
Like someone else was beneath.
Always being asked to perform myself,
Be empty eyed, stiff from expectation.
I may not be able to control how the
World sees me,
But I can control how I see me
And I can spit their perceptions,
Use them to shine a mirror
I can recognize myself in.
There is a very brief moment of silence
And she panics.
Was it the seeming contradiction
Of both choosing for herself and recognizing
The environment that had shaped her?
But she had always contained multitudes,
Paradoxes and dilemmas.
Perhaps, all being on the outside,
They were glad to have someone
MORE outside than them, a game of
What if they simply didn’t understand?
The Babadook responds first:
His hand juts out, a grin like the moon
Splitting the night as he warmly shakes her hand.
“Welcome to the queer club,” he croaks.
Kiyoko wipes tears from alabaster skin;
The baroness Bathory (always a more
Appealing guest than her cousin)
Glides over, no stranger to maligned woman’s plight
“You have always been beautiful,”
She intones with the brutally beautiful
Authority of an iron maiden,
“I’m so thrilled you can finally witness
Your own magnificence.”
Sadako simply opens her arms,
Sleeves like cold water,
A hug like baptism.
“And hey,’ Pazuzu chirps, pouring a fresh glass,
“You can finally choose a name
For yourself. No more being defined
By relation, belonging to no one.”
She looks around at faces,
Some mirthful, some gloomy, but
Most of all, unchanging
In their love for her.
For the first time, she silently thanks
Her maker for functional tear ducts:
How else could she release
All this joy?
The Babadook dashes around,
Making sure everyone has something
To lift in toast;
Sadako lifts her eggshell cup:
“To you and whoever you know
Yourself to be.”
The party goes on forever.
It’s always Halloween somewhere.
Mx. Richaundra Thursday (they/she) is (in no particular order): a Middle School Humanities teacher, a writer, nerd, cook, goth, gamer, prolific reader and other identities not known for generating revenue. They live in South King County, Washington where the intersection of nerd, goth and pretentious writing is peak. You can find their scribbles in Luna Station Quarterly, Eye to the Telescope, The First Line, The Poet’s Haven, Star*Line, Silverblade, Blossomry and those sample sheets they let you test calligraphy pens with.