Real Life

This story is paired with Chapter IX of Bulfinch’s Mythology. For best experience, download the LithoReader for your iPhone or iPad and get NonBinary Review for free. 


Medusa
is a being

in luminous pelt

An elemental pelt
and severe

About her bristling
hangs the misdeed that made her

 

She sat betimes in a
blasted grotto

reading the stacks of anthracite
like florilegia

punctuating the counsel of Pliny with a shrug

 

What history can Perseus bring us

having seen her from the remove of a mirror

A being like M traded form for
form in a flash

at once adder
biped
cloud of scarlet gas

face of a flower floating up from the grass

 

True
She held a menagerie in mighty thrall

and moved about them daily

She ran a palm over every grey recess
wondering

What do minerals compass

 

The fishes tell
that when she was cut open

a winged horse emerged

That there rose unaccountable
a titan with gold skin

and one full-length broadsword

 

Had she been left to cogitate

a while longer

with that much comeliness
and menace

I cannot guess
at the ramparts she’d have crafted

gazing out at the surging sea


NBR4SpecesmallJoseph Spece is founding editor and publisher at Fathom BooksSHARKPACK Poetry Review, and SPR Annual; he also acts as non-fiction editor at Noble / Gas Qtrly, where he maintains a speculative column on animal being. Past honors in letters include a Ruth Lilly Fellowship and the Corrente Prize in Poetry from Columbia University. His first book of poems, Roads (Cherry Grove), appeared in 2013.