A Poem by Lynn Schmeidler
Goodbye Letter to the Medusa That Was My BFF
Sister monster, I can’t believe you’re leaving me
to binge on gluten-free biscotti and TV alone.
Escape is in your nature, and you taught me to be better
than the stethoscope at tracking down animal sounds.
They say when foxes eat the last gold grape you’ll
be decapitated and a winged horse and a golden giant
will spring from your neck — I say, when you’re headless
and the last white antelope is killed, I’ll store the sting
of your stares in my purse. I shall stop fighting and escape
too, O guardian protectress, in boots and bloodshot dress
into a little house I’ll build in the snake-charmed strip mall
where we swiped hot pepper lip plumper — remember
Cupid’s bow. But first, I’ll shrink to fairy size and nuzzle
the head of your memory. With a talent for recognizing
the piercable, combined with a whisper no one understands,
you were the best bad influence a girl could ever want.
Men behind easels making blind moons of all your eyes
couldn’t tell a good hair day from a knot of vipers. They call
you hideous, but I admire your way with oglers, the fatal
and muddy roads of all your hands to yourself deterrents.
As far as I’m concerned you’ll look great as just a head,
and your Red Sea coral will be the epitome of diversity.
I’m having the life of my time, you graffitied on my sleeping
bag, And you may grope for me in vain. When they broke us
up, my dyslexia kicked in, so she from me became me for she.
Now I see you everywhere, in hollows under the mangrove root
and in every ardent roadside attraction. We were such a good
public service message and we inspired originality —
a helicopter made of claws, a Humvee made from lovers —
teeth and wheels and everything. I’ll miss your grim
terribleness, the wide-stepping breadth it gave me,
or where, in apple-scented rain, your wavy locks became
artillery. We even flew a hot air balloon on the fire
of your fury. The silver wasp-nests hang like fruit
in honor of your badass. Your brazen hands were
my example. With the help of your stony gaze, I slew.
Note: italics are the lines of “Escape” by Elinor Wylie
Lynn Schmeidler’s poems appear in numerous anthologies and magazines including Boston Review and Fence. Her chapbook, Curiouser & Curiouser, a collection of poems based on rare neurological disorders, won the 2013 Grayson Books Chapbook Contest.
The Poetry Section is edited by Mark Bibbins.