Spoiler Alert by Betsy Housten

Spoiler Alert

Mom’s got her hands full – outwitting the taloned monster
in a basement climbing with water after impaling her foot

on a nail, giving birth in silence in a bathtub as it stalks her,
blood oozing from her pelvis on the ceramic, white knuckles

gripping the sides, & we can almost feel her organs vibrate
as she fights not to scream, because that’d be the end of her –

the monster’s blind & kills anything it hears – so she grimaces
& bears down alone, despite fear of sudden dismemberment,

& then when her husband dies, & her daughter discovers how
to stun the monster, she picks up a shotgun we don’t doubt

she can handle, because she’s a mom in dire circumstances,
which means she’s scarier & tougher than anyone, & cradles

it like another child, laying the barrel in her steady palms –
& the movie ends on a shockingly beautiful sound: chk-chk.

Betsy Housten is a Pushcart-nominated queer writer and
massage therapist. Her work appears or is forthcoming in Cold Creek
Review, Terse Journal, Cotton Xenomorph, Vagabond City, Bone & Ink
Press, Burning House Press, Longleaf Review, Memoir Mixtapes and
elsewhere. She lives in New Orleans, where she is pursuing her MFA in

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