Today's poem is by Simone Muench

The Melos of Medusa

               It's the jitters that give them a hard-on!
                    —Helene Cixous

I once was a beautiful woman;
     now it's come down to tricks and stones,
          the wick of my voice sputtering

curses in the Mediterranean breeze.
     I once believed that voice
          was sustenance: beauty and weight

of a pomegranate—its wine-colored chambers,
     a thousand rooms to lose
          yourself in. Now I know

no one was listening but the goats
     as they ate their way through night's
          detritus: an orgy where men sang

and drank while women, thin as mist,
     whispered on the periphery. Lovely
          mouths gagged with pollen.

Perseus, as you move your back
     towards me, I want to lick
          the delicate skin where armor

doesn't sheath the elegance
     of your neck as you peruse
          my reflection in your shield.

I want you to see me, to stop
     pursuing my image. It wasn't my face
          that turned those poor men to rock.

It was the burn of me—even
     my navel, a thimble of fire. My hair,
          a catastrophe of fiery curls, not coils

of water moccasins. But the myth remains
     the same: someone is saved; someone
          dies a terrible death.

We know the rules.
     My song that has gone so long
          unheard will taunt you in your sleep

even as you sweep your sword
     across my neck like a finger
          tracing its own silence.

Copyright © 2003 Simone Muench All rights reserved
from Notebook. Knife. Mentholatum.
New Michigan Press
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission

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