Medusa

She is a dismembered, deformed evolution
Of that original death by poetic justice.

She hisses her hymns at me,
Spitting sermons of soliloquy
That grind the guilt grains
Into herself –
The millstone around my neck.

She becomes me, I often conclude,
After examining the glints of the moon
On my sword.

Even stone bleeds after all,
If it once was flesh.

In her reckless reincarnation,
Rancorous gods somewhere relocated
Her eyes into her mind;
She has no vision beyond the charred landscape
Of her own blackened brain.

The poison that trips her trigger switch
Is flammable, so beware:
Don't expose to heat, and I shall keep her mind's eye away
From the naked flames in my pointed fingertips.

Her words – splutterings and mutterings –
Caress me like the snake's tongue
And stab me like the fork's prongs,
So adept in their double
Entendre.

The devil sleeps in her breath,
So foul and putrid from the years of waiting
For a shield to be her own sorry downfall.

She is slower now, but the legends are true:
Those eyes in their new home
Still have the power
To turn me to stone,
Blinded as they are
By bad blood.

In my slumber she closes green fingers around my spine,
Spreading her disease within -
Petrifying a bone for every sin,
Until with chiselled lungs I barely breathe.

The crunch and crack
Of my every movement
Belies my marble heart;
My limestone lungs,
My granite bones,
So brittle. Bitter.
Tart.

And still I carry your stones
In my shoes;
There is gravel and grit in my teeth,
Ground in by the heel of your hand,
As you force a monolith of salt
Onto my back.
It erodes my stone spine,
My petrified limbs.

Place me in a mausoleum;
Let the people stare.

Soon I will be unable to stare back.