Houses are apex predators




Secret Truth:

Houses are apex predators

They swallow families, poodles, Persian cats whole—
only to spit them out again. And repeat.
The house rarely lets its prey go far,
calling them into its throat each evening
and locking its door-and-window teeth.

Even when the prey have gone away,
perhaps to Paris, Puerto Rico, or Portland,
the house has brainwashed them to believe,
regardless of the pleasure of other places—
regardless of pools or prairies or parties,
that there simply is no place like home.

Bethany Jarmul is the author of two chapbooks—This Strange and Wonderful Existence (Bottlecap Press, 2023) and Take Me Home (Belle Point Press, 2025). Her writing was selected for Best Spiritual Literature 2023, nominated for Best of the Net and Wigleaf Top 50, and published in more than 70 magazines. She earned first place in Women on Writing’s 2023 essay contest. She lives near Pittsburgh. Connect with her at or on social media: @BethanyJarmul.