By Beatriz Seelaender
Medusa cannot look in the mirror to brush her serpentine locks
the best she can do is pay for the services of Phineus, the blind king of Thrace
or Arcadia depending on whom you ask, and frankly she’s not interested –
she has no interest in other people, even her pet snakes elicit little tenderness
she wishes she could get a haircut, the best she can hope for is a fix
maybe some hairspray.
Phineus is a fine hairstylist but terrible prophet, a total gossip,
blinded by Apollo for babbling about the future
– one would think he would have seen that coming –
no, the gods had to change the
Future yet again, they acted like it was such a hassle
Like showrunners changing the big plot twist after the fans have figured it out
Excuse me, Dr. Athena, PhD, don’t you think I’ve been stone for too long?
I’m putting in a petition: may I go back to my usual stone-cold bitch incarnation?
No stone unturned, request granted, but now she regretted it
The Future is all loose ends, murmurs Phineus, who could neither tell the future
or tell off the snakes, totally useless, a pair of scissors borrowed from the harpies, his eternal babysitters.
Now Medusa’s little ones love the harpies, they’re so very fun, so much better than mom, they treat them to pink lemonade in metal straws, Medusa nicknamed them the Herpes but it didn’t stick, since her rioting hair wanted to stick it to her instead: they hadn’t gotten over the whole statuesque episode. The bifurcating tongues – split ends, that’s all those are, fissures in the multiverse – hiss with displeasure, speaking some sisterly coded dialect the serpents had come up with to badmouth their mother:
all they have done since the quandary is disobey her in front of company:
they have it in their heads they could not trust her,
and all they do is hiss all day long, rebellious teenagers choosing violence
every day a different hairbrush, strangled or mangled in their stomachs,
like a boa constrictor swallows a bull
the bastards would swallow the combs,
not even the Midas shampoo got them to settle, all it did was made them glitter
(the bottle did say King Midas was not responsible
for adverse effects on hair otherwise cursed
but she still sued him and said that he’d lost his Midas touch)
The anarchist snakes are in such disarray
they spit out most of their meals, convinced there’s hair conditioner mixed in
Medusa sighs, she tells Phineus there’s no use:
Wait it out until the idiots tie themselves into knots
and come back crying and begging for mother’s help
Beatriz Seelaender is a Brazilian author from São Paulo. Her fiction has appeared in Cagibi, AZURE, Psychopomp, among many others, and essays can be found at websites such as The Collapsar and Guesthouse. Her novellas have earned her both the Sandy Run and the Bottom Drawer Prizes. Seelaender’s poetry has been published by Inflections Magazine, VERSION , etc. “Canon Familiaris”, a chapbook in which she turns canonical poems into poems about her shih tzu, Uli, will be released by Really Serious Literature in 2023.