REQUIEM FOR MEDUSA

New poem out in Hermes, REQUIEM FOR MEDUSA, and a recording of me reading it. This poem was the judges’ choice winner in the “word” category of the USU Creative Awards. If you swing by Verge Gallery in the next week or so, you can pick up a free copy of the edition.

 

REQUIEM FOR MEDUSA

He does not look directly at you,
your murderer, fearful that one
unprotected glance at your body
will strike him down. When the
sword falls upon your long neck
his gaze is turned aside a little as
if from shyness, tinged perhaps
with disgust at the monstrosity
of your form, or shame, not for
himself but for the anathema of
your existence, looking only at
your reflection. You do not give
him the same discourtesy. Your
alien eyes, gold and slit-pupilled,
are fixed on him the entire time
you are dying. The shape of him
young, lithe, feet planted firmly,
all leather and bronze, one long
red line of blood interrupted by
splashes of your own blue-black
ichor. Mirrored shield held aloft
like Atlas burdened with the disc
of the heavens. He dims as your
vision falters, brilliance dulling,
blur of blood and light and dark,
the shadows deepening as your
own shade departs the cave, not
for the cold hell of Tartaros but
for the rivers of the dark-haired
god who accepts all equally and
whose kingship over everything
under the earth extends already
to you and your serpentine kin.
Behind you in the mortal realm
the husk of your corpse turns to
ash as he seizes your skull by its
hissing roots, affixing your head
to his burnished shield, his own
reflection fixed forever in your
nacreous pupils, the gilded killer
entombed, ill omen to future foe.

 

 

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