Family Monsters by Donald Illich

As Mothra, I spin around
the family room, seeking
anywhere but flames.

Mom is Rodan, screeching
at anything that makes her
angry. My father, though,

crashes through the scene
as Godzilla, the big destroyer
who burns all resistance,

leaving smoke in his wake.
He occupies the living room,
while we cry in the kitchen,

I daub Rodan’s tears with wings,
while she massages my back
with her beak. If only we could find

a way to live in peace together.
But it’s too late for that.
We’ve been exposed to radiation

our whole lives, the toxic waste
of guilt and recriminations.
We might dwell under the same sky,

soldiers might try to fire on us all,
but we must depart to separate lairs,
pledging one day to return.

In the future we will not be creatures.
We’ll turn back into human beings,
wearing a suit, a dress, a concert t-shirt,

whatever forms the fates allow,
to once again go outside in the light,
breathing nothing but clean air.

 

Donald Illich has published poetry in journals such as The Iowa Review, Fourteen Hills, Map Literary, Passages North, and Cold Mountain Review. He won Honorable Mention in the Washington Prize book contest. He recently published a book, Chance Bodies (The Word Works, 2018).

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