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,

accessorize, accessorize,

      (‘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,

     the shaving,

     the waxing.

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: