My family tree is weighted with monsters. I am always examining myself for manifestations
and ill omens.
There are signs. I look at the length of my fingers and the bristling of my hairs. I examine my
bite in the mirror. I squint in bright light. I check my habits. My good behaviors might be affectations, obfuscations of what I really am. Or maybe I am not anything yet. I set a tape to record the truths I say in sleep, but the tongues I speak in are not ones I recognize in waking.
There are parts of my life I don’t remember now. There are stories that are told back to me until I can put them in a memory. This is what you were like when you were a child, they say. This is how we were before. This is how we were after. In this way I remember myself, but I also remember my mother, and my mother’s mother, and the antecedents who died under bayonets.
Some things are passed in blood, some in spit. If I bite you, we can wait and see what you
become. It might be better to know for sure. It might be worse, to remain ourselves.
A. Werner’s work has appeared most recently in NANO Fiction. She lives and works in Brooklyn.