Jeana Jorgensen

Monsters have a different ratio of
captivity time to trust
than the rest of us.

They collect treasure, it’s true,
but also secrets, and those unspilled words
weigh heavier on ridged spines
and massive bone structures
than you’d think.

By the time the princess oh-so-coyly
asked the ogre how he could be harmed,
the secret was poised to fly from his lips,
ready to be free at last.

I wonder if the ogre knew what he’d done:
if he regretted the sharing,
if he shuddered to remember
the sticky intimacy of letting someone in like that.

I learned that I don’t like it.

After we fucked in your San Francisco shoebox
you asked me to tell you a story,
and without thinking
I gave you the key to my soul.

(I’m not retelling the story here,
do you think I’m stupid?)

Point is, I gave you a piece of me
that was far more intimate than the sex
and I didn’t even realize I’d done it
until it was too late.

And now I can’t stop thinking about
giants and ghouls and all the rest
who told these girls they’d captured
about their hearts hidden in chests,
the hairs that, when pulled, kill them.

I wonder if they knew what they were doing
when they spoke the truth
that would become their doom.

Did they wish the words would clamber
back into their lips, unsaid?
Leaving them more time with a sullen princess
to pick lice from their misshapen heads?

Or were these beasts ready to go:
had they seeded the tea-time chatter
with hints of their demise,
dropped in casually like
lemon rind into muffin batter?

Knowing that you know this about me
makes me feel like the skin’s been stripped away
and I am naked, vulnerable, defenseless.

So of course I ghosted you.
I mean, not entirely;
I’m not a monster.

Jeana Jorgensen earned her PhD in folklore at Indiana University. She has taught folklore, anthropology, and gender studies at universities around the Midwest as well as UC Berkeley. Her poetry has appeared in Strange Horizons, Stone Telling, and Mirror Dance. She blogs at Patheos and is constantly on Twitter.