MEDUSA PREPARES FOR A BLIND DATE WITH PERSEUS
(previously published by Yellow Medicine Review, Spring 2013)
By Dr. Elizabeth Johnston
In the fields and along the paths, here and there, he saw the shapes of men and animals changed from their natures to hard stone by Medusa’s gaze. Nevertheless he had himself looked at the dread form of Medusa reflected in a circular shield of polished bronze that he carried on his left arm. And while a deep sleep held the snakes and herself, he struck her head from her neck—Ovid’s Metamorphosis
It’s lonely in a cave
day after day,
and a girl will do anything
to be loved.
With the others she had been naïve,
tidying rooms, sweeping out cobwebs,
polishing the stone so it
Futile the fumbling
with gels and relaxers—in vain
she had tried to tame the rat’s nest,
tucked under scarves,
teased to a beehive,
(‘cuz everyone knows that
men don’t make passes
if you’ve got a headful of asps).
Now she cringes to think
of kisses practiced on cushions,
bras matched to panties,
A waste of rehearsing how she’d:
throw her head back, throaty laugh,
or lean in, lashes batting, seeming rapt
by sagas sung: beasts beheaded, maidens saved, Gods defied
(blah, blah, blah).
Pointless, all. It never got that far.
Something she said,
or the way she looked at them
revealed too much--hunger, dark
continent--they stopped and stared
and turned to stone.
Not tonight. She’d done her reading,
Snow White. Sleeping Beauty.
Those gals knew how to catch a man.
So when she heard his steps upon the stairs,
she lifted the latch, lowered the lights,
stole to her room, lay across the duvet,
fanned her hair on the pillow.
This time she closed her eyes and her mouth
and waited for the hero’s kiss.
Dr. Johnston's poem will appear in the summer edition "Welcome to Alexandria." She has also kindly written the forward to this inaugural collection.
She can be found online: