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The Snake

Brianna Simmons

They say anger is rooted in men,

a second nature under the flesh created by the gods


Men’s nature is crass and harsh and cruel

To the women of their time, they are always this way

Forcing themselves on women’s bodies


Poseidon is no different, for aren’t men

Made in the image of gods?

In Athena’s temple he waited for her

Medusa, a sacred virgin


He thought her a rag to be soiled

And when she appeared to pray,

And give thanks to her goddess,

He took her, whispering to be quiet,

do not let your goddess hear you


And she cried with her mouth shut

And her eyes to the floor

And her heart in her throat

And her hands splayed against the cold

tiles below her as Poseidon took her


And that is where he left her,

At the altar of her goddess,

Her salvation, left to be dealt with


And Athena came down, having heard

Silent cries from the Earth

And found Medusa there, bleeding

And crying and shaking and spread


And Athena was angry at Medusa’s tears,

How could you let this happen to you?

You did not pray enough!

And Medusa did not speak a word,

her mouth a watery line pressed to the floor


And Athena cursed her,

Like the snake you are, temptress,

And Medusa screamed, mouth open

The snakes growing from her head, angry

and hissing with their mouths open


And Athena banished her away,

Left her bare and spread and hissing

On the floor of the cold, emotionless cave


And Medusa was angry and defiled

Twice in succession, and her snakes agreed

Her only company to help her, they hissed

Revenge, anger, fury, malicious intent


And Medusa agreed and stood

She disrobed what was left and cloaked

Herself in seaweed and rotting twine

And cursed the name of her former goddess

And cursed the name of the man who defiled her


And she said, Never Again

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