Today's poem is by Iain Haley Pollock

Medusa of Libya

he used my ugliness against me. no,
my fear of ugliness hiding in the crags

and outcroppings of this volcanic stone.
lord, my charms had tamed horses

and the sea. i'd had a queen's power
to transmute men. but he held sway

over me with the warp of polished bronze.
i saw there what i'd suspected: my nose,

a snout. my smile, twin rows of fangs.
my wisdom grown to a beard. my plaits,

a tangled nest of vipers. as a girl my pupils
were ringed wide brown ripe as dates —

his mirror reminded them of betrayal,
betrayal like a lover's, sudden, stony.

my three gray sisters share one good eye:
why did the gods bless them with blindness,

me with a doubtful gaze? o, to have never seen,
in his bronze, my face disgusting as maggots

worming in goat's meat. or worse, his eyes —
to have never seen them glassy with rage and dread,

their cruel and terrified beauty the last i'd know.

Copyright © 2011 Iain Haley Pollock All rights reserved
from Spit Back a Boy
The University of Georgia Press
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission

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