In Ovid’s telling of the legend, the maiden Medusa, served in the Temple of Athena and was raped by the sea god, Poseidon. Athena transformed her into the Gorgon of myth, as punishment for this transgression.
After the attack, I beat myself black and blue
with evidence of my own stupidity.
Did I speak the wrong word? Or the right one?
The taunt of a colour, a scent, a smile,
the day, the time, the light – each tumble
like dice toward a blinkered destiny.
Guilt and shame circle my thoughts, the curl
of angry serpents strikes a new boundary.
Fingertip memories bruise the surface,
blacker marks below, indelible.
At night, I dream of fire and wake up burning.
Time tricks me, spills upon me unguarded
moments, dark flashes, lingering
fragments an eternity will not unwind.
I grapple with their flicker, twisting frames tight,
tighter, ’til they knot and tangle
or spool them over and back, chasing a time
before I was blessed, before I was born. And you?
You are a stone – and you cannot look at me.