She didn’t set out to become Medusa.
Failing to see that her resting face
with its permanently etched frown
was a weapon of mythical force.
Beauty warped into a titan terror,
the legend grew as she did –
ballooning outwards like a puffer fish.
She wasn’t born as something Chthonic,
just another cute crying whelp
loved by her mother, spoilt by her father.
She blames the tentacle whip of the belt.
Her list of castrations multiplying on,
as purple-faced, she unleashes
aeons of daddy-didn’t-care indignation.
She could have been a mother you know,
a proper one. Impregnated by Poseidon,
birthing bloody vipers in ribbons
that squealed in suffocated cries.
She stomped all over them, a tantrum,
squashing every inch of life out.
She refused to let them breathe.
She never wanted to become Medusa.
The venom seeped from her pores
into the static air, paralysing everything.
Unravelling Plath’s Atlantic cable,
I muted her serpentine tongue.
Her severed head still sits on my mantel,
a Caravaggio painting, oily gaze still potent.
I will not become like her.
Bio: Kirsty Niven lives in Dundee, Scotland with her partner and feline quartet. She is an internationally published poet, and her debut chapbook Broken Picture was recently published. Her writing has appeared in anthologies such as Self Portrait, Moving Images: Poetry Inspired by Film and The Scottish Book Trust’s Scotland’s Stories. Kirsty’s work has also been shared in numerous journals, magazines and websites such as WA International, Sylvia Magazine and Dreich.