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Medusa's Sisters

Patricia Frisella, president of the Poetry Society of New Hampshire, read this seven line punch of a poem at a recent Hoot. In it, she lets her "Sisters" speak for themselves:

Medusa's Sisters

We are the women with snakes in our hair
gleaming unblinking eyes open as telescopes
aimed at distant truths; we hiss irresistible as cobras
crowns of scaled familiars sizzle and our green
kaleidoscopic eyes miss nothing; we stretch our necks
swish lisping tongues across our teeth and shed
the tesselated skins of our past.

                                           --Patricia Frisella

A few things we need to recall: Medusa was one of the three Gorgons-snake-haired sisters with scaled bodies and immense wings, isolated on a remote island. Men looked on them and turned to stone. Medusa was the only sister who did not enjoy immortality, evidenced by the fact she lost her head to Perseus. The "familiars" in line four suggest embodied spirits that keep watch over-in this case-women. "(K)aleidoscopic" in line five points to a variegated changing scene. "(T)esselated" in line seven means more than mottled. Reticulated is more precise. And reticulation refers to evolutionary change.

Out of the myth and into contemporary history they come-the unblinking sisters with telescopic eyes. Listen to them slither forward with the "s" sounds from "hiss" to "sizzle" to "swish" in lines three, four and six. Hear the drag of their scales in the scraping sounds from "…scopes" to "skins" in lines two through seven. These sisters refuse to crawl forever on their rocky island. They are stretching their necks, swishing their tongues (lisping now but not forever), shedding their scaly skins. Their myth is being turned inside out. Guided by sisterly spirits, they move toward the distant truths of sisterhood: women casting off their veils, refusing to be demonized, walking erect into the world. Wise men welcome their equal. Fools turn themselves into stone.

"Medusa's Sisters" copyright 2004 by Patricia Frisella. Patricia lives on a tree farm with her husband, two teenage children, and a menagerie of animals. Her work has recently appeared in The Margie Review, In Posse Review, and Tapestries.

  Poems from The Poetry Hoot should not exceed nineteen lines.

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