Jen Wang

grl mnstr


grl draw pick-up truck in shape of white boy

crayon snap clean from how hard she press

grl’s mom tell her be gentle with her hands

they callous anyway anyway

callous wonder why grl didn’t listen

why she still grip tight those monkey bars

grl always listening

grl still hear her mother

an arsenal of blanks

steady enough to be white noise


but grl know to keep jumping

lion through flaming hoop


grl is wrong daughter

grl got two forearms to flay inside out

grl got stretch marks

grl got knife nails


grl slept with knife under pillow until age thirteen

age fourteen, grl met boy who dug an ocean for her

to drown in

but grl
don’t fill up that quick


grl perpetual one drink short of needing you


grl has mouth of east wind

grl got hips that cyclone

grl gave birth to winged monkeys

grl ate the afterbirth

grl ate the  ice cream drenched molten strawberry

until grl’s mom tell her, don’t be pig

grl’s mom demand grl vomit her ugly

grl’s mom learn better than daughter

what it mean to be pretty, to not be monster

grl’s mom know where to shoot

cardboard cut-out daughter

right where

blood runs


grl’s mom is arsenal

but didn’t invent the firearm

someone else shot neighbor’s dog

and reload the shotglass




grl leave party with boy when home too far away

grl say she’s okay with his fingers curled inside, trying to coax her out

someone cocks a pistol, pulse on trigger

grl pulse shudder

grl choke on cock, keep him occupied

grl’s body not there when he wake

grl’s body not in her own body and she go retrieve herself

call herself bitch when she cannot play fetch

call herself tease when she don’t go back

call herself lease like he wanted her name


grl got no money for tattoo so she buy cigarettes
to remember that stark, that
acre-long burn on floor where grl scuffed herself out
maybe grl the drunkard her mother and driver’s ed instructor warned her about
maybe the storefront is waiting to be caved in by someone

who has no face but wears every mask


grl still looking for wanted posters

next sign of which dragon to slay

grl believe in monsters

grl believe in herself


grl made of monkey bars

grl got no wishbones in this body to snap



  • grl mnstr was originally published in a zine “burn something”
Jen Wang is a teaching artist and mouth full of more mouths based in the twin cities.