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Medusa in VeniceRebecca Tamás
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Vol. 41 No. 24 · 19 December 2019
Poem

Medusa in Venice

Rebecca Tamás

213 words

Starlings collect and expand in small breaths,
it is still early, and thick spring light is filtering in over
the stucco roofs, the wide squares, the tracks of water,
the armless broken statues.

She is not dead, but here –
long patterned skirt, hair coiled in green vibrating braids,
slightly peeling skin, freckles, deep tan,
violet silk slippers with a curt block heel.

Breakfast is hard cheese, pomegranates,
lemons squeezed in sugar water,
coffee in small blue porcelain cups,
Moroccan pink-tipped cigarettes.

She doesn’t feel a moment’s guilt for such small abundance,
silently aware of the dark bruises on her thighs,
the hissing, keening mass of heads atop her own,
the pictures of her corpse on ever opening tabs,
the pictures of her inner parts, smooth but volatile,
the pictures of her skin mauled open on a slab,
the pictures of her heartfelt, desperate, furious face,
the pictures of her cooling organs hurried into bags.

On her second coffee she wonders who now
might judge her for the violent death of men;
light on the piazza hanging ragged, tender, bloody,
all their mistakes etched clearly on the walls.

At night she will have sex, just like other people,
work herself into fresh sweating shapes, flush visions,
snakes humming, jittering in dazed happiness.

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