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Featured Poem • February 2017


Preventative Measures


Beth Cato


her mother provided her first lesson on monster slaying when the girl just turned three “monsters are like ants,” mom said “they send a trailblazer to see if they can feed then soon enough, they fill your closet crowd beneath your bed other kids leave a light on for security crack open the door come screaming for help when awakened by any thump”   she demonstrated how to hold the knife where the jugular or artery may be located on monsters of various size or structure how the blood was no big deal “you should have seen the messes you made as a baby! color-safe bleach exists for a reason”   the girl practiced her swipes and lunges how to roll from the bed without tangling in sheets understood that a tidy closet reduces the likelihood of bogeys creating a portal   mom tucked the girl in the white plastic knife on the bedside table “is it sharp enough?” the girl asked   “it’s all in how you use it,” said her mother as she turned out the light



bethcato_smile_smBeth Cato is the author of the Clockwork Dagger series from Harper Voyager, which includes her Nebula-nominated novella Wings of Sorrow and Bone. Her newest novel is Breath of Earth. She’s a Hanford, California, native transplanted to the Arizona desert, where she lives with her husband, son, and requisite cat. Follow her at BethCato.com and on Twitter at @BethCato.

About the writing of “Preventative Measures,” she said, “I love urban fantasy novels. I figure the toddler years are a good time to start training for saving the world. I confess, I like that the ending is vague about if there really are monsters or if this training is an elaborate strategy to help the girl cope with her bedtime fears.”



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