Alan May :: The Boy and the Monster ::


Southern Legitimacy Statement: I grew up in Central Heights in northwest Alabama, and I’ve lived in Tuscaloosa and Knoxville. I have never been outside of the south for more than a few days at a stretch. I was 25 before I learned that snake doctors (which I’d seen since my toddler days) and dragonflies (from books and movies) were one and the same.

The Boy and the Monster


            A boy and a monster walk
into the woods. The sun sets

on the pines, on the maple’s blood-red
leaves. From a distance, we see

the boy’s pale skin and the claws
at the end of the monster’s furry arms.

            In one legend, the boy is alone.
He crouches in the rocks and mud

beside the lake. The monster
sees the boy and reaches

out to him. A tiny hand
grasps a big, hairy paw.

A Cautionary Tale

            The boy left his parents,
wandered too far,

and was eaten alive
by the monster.

Becoming the Monster

            The boy wanders into the woods,
becomes a monster, and lives

happily ever after.
He cradles fledgling birds

in his hairy arms and then
carefully returns the peepers

to their nests. He pats squirrels
on their furry, little heads.

Horror Story
            A boy wanders into the woods,
becomes a monster, and then

returns to the village. He kills
and eats 100 villagers.

Lonely road. Strong wind. / The boy w/ monster huddle / together under / a bridge for warmth. There are dreams. / There is fire. Oh, brilliant stars.

Alternate Ending
            After a hearty breakfast,
the boy and the monster

become one. They disguise
themselves as an office

worker. They tie
their shoes and button

their spiffy cardigan.
They take the bus to work.

They sit at a desk
beside the water cooler.

Conflict Resolution

            The villagers gather
with their torches, machetes,

and assault rifles.
They follow the monster

into the woods. The monster
kills several villagers.

A man fires two bullets
into the center mass

of the monster, stopping the beast’s
heart. The villagers chop

the monster into pieces.
Among the many pieces,

the villagers find
a bright-eyed boy.